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Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development and Research
Creating Defensible Space
Creating Defensible Space
by Oscar Newman Institute for Community Design Analysis
Contractor: Center for Urban Policy Research Rutgers University Contract No. DU100C000005967 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development and Research
The opinions expressed in this book are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
small.FOREWORD The appearance of Oscar Newman’s Defensible Space in 1972 signaled the establishment of a new criminological subdiscipline that has come to be called by many “Crime Prevention Through Envi ronmental Design” or CPTED. Stegman Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research iii . Indeed. Information about this pro cess is presented for three distinct venues: in an older. Newman’s experience as a con sulting architect. Over the years. in an existing public housing community. This monograph is very special because it draws directly from Mr. PD&R is pleased to be part of the continuing growth and evolution of Defensible Space as both a criminological concept and a proven strategy for enhancing our Nation’s quality of urban life. we asked the author to share with us both his perspective on creating viable change and his personal observations on key lessons learned. and in the context of dispersing public housing throughout a small city. Mr. Newman’s ideas have proven to have such signifi cant merit in helping the Nation’s citizens reclaim their urban neighborhoods that we at HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research asked him to prepare a casebook to assist public and pri vate organizations with the implementation of Defensible Space theory. private urban community. By publishing Creating Defensible Space. Michael A.
.......................... South Bronx................................................. 4 Case Study One: The Five Oaks community in Dayton. 13 The effect of housing form on residents’ ability to control areas ...........CONTENTS ■ ILLUSTRATIONS ............ 4 Rationale for selecting the three case studies.................................................................. xiii ■ INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................... 5 Case Study Two: The Clason Point project.................................................................................................... 9 The private streets of St.......................................... 5 Case Study Three: Dispersing public housing in Yonkers.............................. Louis........................... ix ■ ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .... New York City ................... New York ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 9 Evolution of the concept......................... 7 ■ Chapter I: Defensible Space Principles .......................................................................... 14 Summary of the effect of building type on behavior ................................................................................................................................................................. 18 Social factors and their interaction with the physical ........................................ 6 Presentation format........................... 1 What this book is about and who it is for ....................................................................................................... Ohio ............................................. 9 The concept ............................................................. 17 The effect of building type on residents’ control of streets........................................ 23 v ..
.................................. 51 Evaluation of the modifications ...................................................... 37 Initial presentations to city staff and the community........................................................................................................................... 69 Resurfacing of buildings .................................................................................... 27 Factors influencing crime and instability................................................ 65 Redefinition of grounds ............................. 74 Learning from experience .................................................................................................................................... 43 Traffic studies .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 31 Initiating the process ............................................... Dayton........................................................................................................................................... 38 Community participation in designing mini-neighborhoods ..................................................... 71 Redevelopment of the central area ................................ 51 Allied measures for stabilizing the community ............................................... 28 ■ Chapter II: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks... 55 Limits to the application of the mini-neighborhood concept........................................................................ 46 The alley problem in Dayton...................................................... 78 vi ......................................... 59 ■ Chapter III: The Clason Point Experiment ....................................................................................................................................... Ohio ....................................................................... 46 Description of the Five Oaks mini-neighborhood plan......... 72 Effectiveness of the modifications ...........Creating Defensible Space The suitability of building types to lifestyle groups .....................................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................. 113 Background.................................................................................................... 115 Design criteria ....................................................................................................................................................................... 97 Training of residents ................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 114 Selection of proposals ........................................................ 81 Design principles............................................ 115 Zoning ......... 101 ■ REFERENCES........................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 92 Selection of residents ..................................... 117 Proposal evaluation criteria ................................................... 121 Home maintenance ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 121 Tenant relocation .... 86 Problems in controlling the design process.......... 99 Evaluation....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers ...................................................................................... 113 Definitions ... 109 ■ Addendum A: Defensible Space Guidelines Used in Yonkers RFP .............. 118 ■ Addendum B: Tenant Training Course ........ 121 vii ............................................................................................................................................................... 115 Selection of proposals ..................................................................................................Table of Contents ■ Chapter IV: Dispersed........ 97 Results .................................................................................................................
................................................................................. 123 viii .......................... 122 Safety/security .................................................................................................................................................................. 122 Community resources ................................................................Creating Defensible Space Interpersonal relations .............
........................................ 17 Figure I–12: A four-city-block row-house development ......................................... Louis .............................................................................................................................ILLUSTRATIONS ■ Chapter I: Defensible Space Principles Figure I–1: Overall view of Pruitt-Igoe in St...... 16 Figure I–11: The elevator highrise and the nature of spaces ....................................................... 20 Figure I–15: A highrise and a walkup built at the same density ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 12 Figure I–7: Graph of increase in crime with building height ...... 14 Figure I–9: Single-family houses and the nature of spaces .... 21 Figure I–16: Comparison of two walkups subdivided differently ............................... 18 Figure I–13: A four-city-block garden apartment development ............................................................... 11 Figure I–4: Vandalism in Pruitt-Igoe ............................................................... 12 Figure I–6: Carr Square Village ..... Louis ... 11 Figure I–5: Pruitt-Igoe in the process of being torn down ................................................................... 22 ix ................. 15 Figure I–10: Walkup buildings and the nature of spaces .......................................................... 19 Figure I–14: A four-city-block highrise development....................... 10 Figure I–2: The architect’s vision of how the 3d floor communal corridor in Pruitt-Igoe would be used ................................. 13 Figure I–8: Aerial view of typical closed streets in St............... 10 Figure I–3: The actual 3d floor communal corridor of Pruitt-Igoe ................................................................................................................................................
........................................ 34 Figure II–5: Map of Five Oaks’ internal streets and boundaries ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 31 Figure II–2: Typical street in Five Oaks ....................................................................Creating Defensible Space Figure I–17: Crime rates by social and physical variables ................................................................................................ 23 Figure I–18: Variations in crime rate by socioeconomic groups ...................................................................................................................................... 49 Figure II–17: Proposed gates defining mini-neighborhoods..................................................... 34 Figure II–4: Street in Five Oaks with various building types . 44 Figure II–11: Schematic showing ideal access to mini-neighborhoods.................................................. Ohio Figure II–1: Map locating Five Oaks and downtown Dayton .................. Dayton........ 45 Figure II–12: Mini-neighborhood boundaries of Five Oaks ................ 48 Figure II–16: Actual position of portals as installed .................... 26 ■ Chapter II: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks................................ 35 Figure II–6: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of renters ................. 37 Figure II–9: Greek cross plan for ideal mini-neighborhood ....... 32 Figure II–3: Deteriorated two-story walkup in Five Oaks .......................... 47 Figure II–14: Hammerhead turn at end of street ...................... 46 Figure II–13: Mini-neighborhood plan for Five Oaks showing location of gates and entries into mini-neighborhoods .......... 36 Figure II–8: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of vacancies ............................................................................................................................ 36 Figure II–7: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of African-American renters ................................ 49 x ........................................ 43 Figure II–10: Overly large cul-de-sac layout .. 48 Figure II–15: Proposed portal markers for mini-neighborhoods ....................................................
............................................. 73 Figure III–12: Revised plan of Clason Point ................................ 70 Figure III–7: Small play nodes ...... 69 Figure III–6: Vandalized tiles and mailboxes in a highrise ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 69 Figure III–5: Collective front yards defined by the new curbing ..... 50 Figure II–19: Gates across the rear alleys ........................................ 51 Figure II–20: Residents making improvements to their homes ..................Illustrations Figure II–18: Gates as actually installed ................................................................................... 68 Figure III–4: Six-foot fencing defines collective rear yards ............................................ 73 Figure III–11: The central area as modified ............ 67 Figure III–3: Composite of fear maps produced by residents...................................................... 75 Figure III–15: Before and after photographs of Clason Point ................................................................................. 54 Figure II–21: Renter and homeowner children playing together ............................................................................................................................ 66 Figure III–2: Interior grounds before modifications .............................................................................. 76 Figure III–16: Residents’ response to 6-foot fencing......................................... 70 Figure III–8: Wall of sample surfaces .. 74 Figure III–13: Internal walk at Clason Point before modifications ........................................................... 56 ■ Chapter III: The Clason Point Experiment Figure III–1: Clason Point from street before modifications ................................................. 71 Figure III–9: The central area before modifications ............................................................................................................................................................. 72 Figure III–10: Plan for the conversion of the central area ..................................... 75 Figure III–14: Internal walk after modifications ............................................................. 77 xi ..............................................................................................................................
...................Creating Defensible Space Figure III–17: Play node for young children ............. 86 Figure IV–9: Typical site plan for a 48-unit site ...................................................................... 88 Figure IV–11: Fencing-off of the rear yards in Yonkers ..................................................................................... 88 Figure IV–10: Sketch of a group of row-house units .............................................. 81 Figure IV–2: The School Street project in Yonkers ............................... 85 Figure IV–8: Typical site plan for a 24-unit site ..................................................................... 100 Figure IV–17: Residents’ later improvements to rear yards............................... 84 Figure IV–7: Typical site plan for a 12-unit site ............ 100 Figure IV–16: Residents’ later improvements to front yards ........................................................................................................................................................................ 83 Figure IV–5: The Schlobohm project in Yonkers ....................................................................................... 89 Figure IV–12: Typical garbage dumpster serving public housing ........................................ 82 Figure IV–4: Aerial view of east Yonkers ..................................................... NY Figure IV–1: Map showing concentration of public housing ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 79 ■ Chapter IV: Dispersed. 90 Figure IV–14: Completed scattered-site units in Yonkers ..... Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers.................................................................. 90 Figure IV–13: Individual garbage cans along the walks ........................................... 83 Figure IV–6: The Mulford Gardens project in Yonkers ................................................................................... 101 xii ................... 79 Figure III–18: Aerial view of a small portion of Clason Point ....... 82 Figure IV–3: Map locating Yonkers relative to New York City .................................. 92 Figure IV–15: Residents’ initial improvements to front yards ..........................................................
S. for his personal support and encouragement in having me prepare these case studies. Ray Reynolds. and Patrick Donnelly. the city’s former director of urban develop ment (now planning director for the city of Hollywood. Hal Holzman served as HUD’s Project Officer. the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Michael Stegman. who brought me to Dayton and helped me at every stage. the project would not have been realized without his efforts. superintendent of police. The publication has received wide acclaim and distribution. he encouraged me to record experiences and speak to issues I would have otherwise hesi tated addressing.ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Firstly. Evaluation. he recognized the importance of our work to housing authorities and cities across the country and prepared his own essay entitled: Defensible Space. initially suggested the idea for the three case studies. Others who were germane to the success of the Five Oaks project were: Jaruth Durham-Jefferson. He then had me meet with Margery Turner. Early in his administration. California) bore the full responsibility of seeing the Dayton project through from start to finish. and Monitoring and with Dr. as my mentor and muse during the entire writing effort. In Dayton. but more importantly. Hal Holzman to define the scope of the work. Reducing Crime and Creating Community. and Bernice Ganble. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) personnel and his key staff and Assistant Secretaries to explore how Defensible Space technology could be utilized in various HUD programs. HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research. Suffice it to say. Karen DeMasi. He followed this by having me conduct a series of seminars for U. who served to coordinate community participation during the xiii . all residents of the community and professionals in their own right. I describe his role in my discussion of Five Oaks. I wish to thank Henry Cisneros.
New York. director of management. His role was difficult. two men took to the idea. Chief of police Robert Olson (now in Minneapolis) was helpful in calming the community’s nerves during the process. director of maintenance. both now retired. and had his men bring the com munity and public housing teenagers together when tempers flared. provided a police presence when it was needed. Pete Smith.Creating Defensible Space planning of the project and provided insights that helped me define the plan and write the case study. prepared the final illustrations from my sketches. as he has in my previous books. was our first effort in modifying public housing projects using the Defensible Space theory. Clason Point in the Bronx. was my second conscience through my entire 8 years of working there. he also identified with public housing residents and their plight in segregated highrise projects. as a long-time Yonkers resident. In Yonkers. he knew everyone and identified with their concerns and resistance. and Bernie Moses. Allen Christianson. New York April 1996 xiv . architect. Oscar Newman Hensonville. Even though housing authority management was skeptical. Joanna King. the director of the Yonkers Municipal Housing Authority. who has served as our institute’s administrator and my trusted editor for 20 years. He knew that what we were planning would help all public housing resi dents and would not be the destabilizing force everyone in the commu nity feared. opened doors. and provided insights and assistance that gave access to data and to sites for experimentation. continued her critical work in helping me produce this book. Within our offices. but as executive director of the housing authority. They were Sam Granville.
our institute has been using Defensible Space technology to enable residents to take control of their neighborhoods. Pruitt-Igoe. The pro cess has also produced inexpensive ways to create housing for the poor. In this chapter. The programs help people preserve those areas in which they can realize their com monly held values and lifestyles. Louis. to reduce crime. Over the past 25 years. This includes the streets and grounds outside their buildings and the lobbies and corridors within them. Defensible Space can provide an introduction to the benefits of mainstream life and an opportunity to see how their own actions can better the world around them and lead to upward mobility. ■ Evolution of the concept: Pruitt-Igoe and Carr Square Village The Defensible Space concept evolved about 30 years ago when. I will briefly explain the origins and principles of Defensible Space and introduce the reader to the results of our various research projects. Defensible Space relies on self-help rather than on government interven tion. and to stimulate private reinvestment. and so it is not vulnerable to government’s withdrawal of support. go to ruin. as a teacher at Washington University in St. often without government assistance. It has the ability to bring people of different incomes and race together in a mutually beneficial union. I was able to witness the newly constructed 2. The project was designed by one of the country’s 9 .CHAPTER Defensible Space Principles ONE ■ The concept All Defensible Space programs have a common purpose: They restruc ture the physical layout of communities to allow residents to control the areas around their homes. It depends on resident involvement to reduce crime and remove the pres ence of criminals.740-unit public housing highrise development. We have been able to do this while maintaining racial and economic integration. For low-income people.
Each building was given communal corridors on every third floor to house a laundry. The idea was to keep the grounds and the first floor free for community activity. and garbage was stacked high around the choked garbage chutes. a communal room. residents could not iden tify with them. The corridors. the design proved a disas ter. residents were raised into the air in 11-story buildings. Louis in the 1960s. most eminent architects and was hailed as the new enlight enment. and stairs were dangerous places to walk. laundry.Creating Defensible Space Figure I–1: Overall view of Pruitt-Igoe. lob bies. The project never achieved more than 60 percent occupancy. Because all the grounds were common and disassociated from the units. “A river of trees” was to flow under the buildings. The areas proved unsafe. It followed the plan ning principles of Le Corbusier and the Interna tional Congress of Modern Architects. and community rooms were vandalized. elevators. 10 . They became covered with graffiti and littered with garbage and human waste. Women had to get together in groups to take their children to school and go shopping.740-unit public housing project constructed in St. It Figure I–2: The architect’s vision of how the 3d floor communal corridor in Pruitt-Igoe would be used. Even though the density was not very high (50 units to the acre). The mailboxes on the ground floor were vandalized. a 2. and a garbage room that contained a garbage chute. The river of trees soon became a sewer of glass and garbage. Occupied by single-parent. The elevators. welfare families.
and lobbies.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles was torn down about 10 years after its construction and be- came a precursor of what was to happen elsewhere in the country. showing the vandalism that ensued. row- house complex. it was clean and well-maintained. smaller. Where only two fami lies shared a landing. Figure I–4: Vandalism to the large number of vacant apartments in Pruitt-Igoe as seen from the outside. Why such a difference between the interior of the apartment and the public spaces outside? One could only conclude that residents maintained and controlled those areas that were clearly defined as their own. If one could get oneself invited into an apartment. It had remained fully occupied and trouble-free throughout the construction. 11 . Such anonymous public spaces made it impossible for even Figure I–3: The 3d floor communal corridor as it actually turned out. and well- tended. I asked. safe. one could only ask: What kind of people live here? Excluding the interior public areas of the development there were occasional pockets that were clean. and stairs shared by 150 families were a disaster—they evoked no feelings of identity or control. was the significance of the physical differences that enabled one to survive while the other was destroyed? Walking through Pruitt-Igoe in its heyday of pervasive crime and vandalism. occupancy. elevators. whereas corridors shared by 20 families. but with great pride. Carr Square Village. Across the street from Pruitt- Igoe was an older. and decline of Pruitt-Igoe. occupied by an identi cal population. With social variables constant in the two developments. Landings shared by only two families were well maintained. one found it neat and well maintained—modestly furnished perhaps. what.
12 . a row-house development located across the street from Pruitt-Igoe. neighboring residents to develop an accord about acceptable behavior in these areas. and resident superintendents to watch over and maintain the common public areas. impossible to tell resident from intruder. Most of us have seen highrise apartments occu pied by middle-income people that function very well. It was impossible to feel or exert proprietary feelings. at a loss of $300 million. Why then do they not work for low-income fami lies? Middle-income apart ment buildings have funds available for doormen. there are barely enough Figure I–6: Carr Square Village. por ters. elevator operators. but in highrise public housing.Creating Defensible Space Figure I–5: Pruitt-Igoe in the process of being torn down.
0 Walkups (3 floors) 14.3 16. The influx of people from the rural areas of the South had overwhelmed the city.5 Highrises (13–30 floors) ■ The private streets of St. and although anyone was free to drive or walk them (they had no guard booths). therefore.2 Inside apartments 12.5 Midrises (6–7 floors) 14. Given that funds for doormen. crime-free environments—nice places to rear children.3 On outside grounds 10.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles funds for 9-to-5 nonresident mainte nance men. or porters.0 12. Louis in the mid-1960s was a city coming apart. Not surprisingly. porters.0 In interior public spaces 5. if you could afford a castle. or was the operating mechanism the closing-off of streets and the creation of controlled enclaves? Through research funded by the National Science Foundation (Newman. elevator operators. and shipping kings. They are the former palaces of St. and resident superintendents do not exist for public housing. beef. I asked.5 37. I came upon a series of turn-of-the-century neighborhoods where homes are replicas of the small chateaux of France. one knew that one was intruding into a private world and that one’s actions were under constant observation. closed to through traffic. Why.0 Total 30. could not this model be used to stabilize the adjacent working and middle-class neighborhoods that were undergoing massive decline and abandonment? Was private ownership the key. the question emerged: Is it possible to design public housing without any interior public areas and to have all the grounds assigned to individual families? Location of Crime in Walkups and Highrises Total 68. but the private streets appeared to be oblivious to the chaos and abandon ment taking place around them. Louis. It had one of the Nation’s highest crime rates. Dean. it is within these interior and exterior common public ar eas that most crime in public housing takes place. Louis Also in St. Louis’ commercial barons—the rail. 13 .7 16. The residents owned and controlled their own streets. let alone for security person nel.0 Total 41. These chateaux are positioned on privately held streets. They continued to function as peaceful. and Wayno. 1974) we were able to identify the essential ingredients of the pri vate streets and provide a model that could be replicated throughout the Figure I–7: Graph showing the relationship between the increase in crime and increased building height and that crime is mostly located within public areas. St.
Creating Defensible Space city. I should explain what I mean by the dwelling unit: It is the interior of an apartment unit or home. Single-family houses come in three basic types: detached houses. and its implementation suc ceeded in stabilizing communities in transition. That is the case whether the unit is one among many in a highrise building or sits by itself on the ground. Even the row house is subdivided into a series of distinctly pri vate spaces. For simplification. All the interior spaces. There are no interior spaces that are public or that do not belong to a family. I am interested in learning how the grouping of units in different types of building configura tions creates indoor and outdoor “nonunit” spaces of different character. or a fully detached Figure I–8: Aerial view of typical closed streets in St. I have grouped all buildings into the three categories that capture the essential differences among them. they share an essen tial common trait: Within the four walls of each type of building is the private domain of one family. not touching any other build ing. There are no interior spaces within any single-family build ing—whether a row house. This was done in both African-American and white areas. 14 . Although all three types of single-family buildings look different. The fully detached building sits by itself. the semidetached building has two single-family units sharing a common wall. and highrises. Louis. semidetached houses. walkups. and the row-house building has a few single-family units sharing common walls with other units. therefore. a semidetached building. one on each side. These three categories are: single-family houses. ■ The effect of housing form on residents’ ability to control areas Over the next few pages I will explain how dif ferent building types create spaces outside the dwelling unit that affect residents’ ability to control them. Firstly. and row houses (row houses are also called townhouses). are private.
each has been designed so that each unit has its own front and rear yard. Regardless of which type of single-family building we examine.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles house—that are shared by more than one family. The upward limit of the detached house is about six units to the acre. I have classed them as semiprivate because of this difference. put between each unit. but this allows for a driveway to be • There is a direct abutment between private grounds and the sidewalk. but because they are accessible from the street as well as from the interior of each unit their character is different. semipublic. When one looks at the grounds surrounding these three types of single- family units. could not be achieved in detached units at six to the acre. or public. If we attempt to categorize the grounds as either private. we would have to conclude that the rear yards are certainly private because they belong to individual fami lies and are only accessible from the interior of each unit. The upward limit of the semidetached house is eight units to the • All interior spaces are within the private domain of the family. houses and the nature of spaces in and around them. We now have circulation areas within the building that are common because they are shared by a few families. Looking at the next classification of building—the walkup—one finds that a radical new element has been introduced that totally changes the character of both the inside and outside of the building. The fundamental difference in the three types of single-family houses shown is the density at which they can be built— which is to say the number of units that can be put on an acre of land in each of these configurations. The front yard of each unit also immediately abuts the street. acre. The front yards also belong to individual families. something that • The domain of the house encompasses the street. but some people would say that they are really private. one finds that all the grounds are private because they have been assigned to each unit. • All grounds around the private unit are for the private use of the family. Row houses can be Figure I–9: built at an upward limit of 16 units to the acre if one also wishes to pro- Three types of single-family vide off-street parking on a one-to-one basis. The number of families sharing these common 15 . semiprivate.
and corridor are semiprivate. the common staircase • The street is within the sphere of influence of the dwellings. and at a density of 20 to 30 units to the acre if they are only 2 stories in height. The grounds at the rear of the unit are also not assigned to individual families and the rear of the units are often used for parking. depending on the type of elevator used. landing. The least expensive elevator is the hydraulic. We come now to the last of our three building types: the highrise. but it has an upward limit of six stories. Figure I–10: Such buildings are often called garden apartments. Because the grounds surrounding 3-story walkups. In such a case. however. belong to all the families living in the building. The grounds in the front of the unit are also adjacent to a public street. These are elevator buildings and commonly come in two sizes. Three-story walkups were commonly built in the 1950s and 1960s. possible to modify the design of the rear grounds to make some of the areas private and the remainder semiprivate. In figure I–10. but as these are nonelevator buildings. Entrances from • Grounds can be designated for one family but are usually shared by all the families in the building. Walkup buildings and the nature of spaces in and around them. • The interior lobby.Creating Defensible Space areas depends on how the entrances. The electric elevator can comfortably 16 . • Only a small number of families (three to six) share the interior circulation areas and grounds. they cannot be consid ered private. Two families per floor share a common • Private space is within the apartment unit only. It is. the walkup building is subdi vided so that six families share a common entry and interior circulation stair. front and back. corridors. and I will demonstrate how to do that shortly. usually exit to the outside at both the front and rear. Walkups can be built at a density of 30 to 40 units per acre if they are 3 stories in height. and stairs are distributed within the building. For this reason I would categorize the grounds in front as semipublic space. stairs. the 3story walkup has fallen out of favor with the decline in housing demand. the grounds at the back would also have to be considered semipublic.
it is relatively easy for an informal understanding to be reached among the families as to what constitutes acceptable usage. these interior areas can only be designated as semipublic or even public. because of their disassociation from any of the individual units. It is easier for outsiders to gain access to and linger in the interior areas of a building 17 . The 15-story building at the right has 195 families sharing common inte rior areas. • Private space exists only within the apartment units. and the fact that they are shared by 195 families. • There is no association between buildings and street. Therefore. Because of the large num ber of people sharing them. the opportunity for reaching such an implicit understanding diminishes to the point that no usage other than walking through the area is really possible. can only be designated as public. but any use is permissible. whether it be the interior circulation areas of a building or the grounds outside. the more difficult it is for people to identify it as theirs or to feel they have a right to control or determine the activity taking place within it. • The interior circulation areas and the grounds are public. if not public. ■ Summary of the effect of building type on behavior A family’s claim to a territory diminishes proportionally as the number of families who share that claim increases. When the numbers increase. The outside grounds. Even the corridors on each floor are shared by 13 families and are acces sible from 2 sets of stairs and 2 elevators that are very public. The larger the number of people who share a communal space. but it is usually used in 10.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles go up to 30 stories. Figure I–11: The elevator highrise and the nature of space in and around it. For this reason I would have to designate these corridors as semipublic.to 16-story apartment buildings. with only a few families sharing an area. The larger the number of people who share a territory. the less each individual feels rights to it.
are assigned to individual families. are desig nated semiprivate. The three illustrations show the same four-block area of a city. except for the streets and sidewalks. and the family car is parked at the curb. rather than public. are private. Residents’ attitudes suggest that they consider this sidewalk and parking area as semipublic. This is further reinforced by the fact that their semiprivate lawn abuts the sidewalk. ■ The effect of building type on residents’ control of streets If we examine the three building types from the viewpoint of residents’ ability to exert control over surrounding streets. I–13. each developed using a different building type. The close juxtaposition of each dwelling unit and its entry to the street contributes to the incorporation of the sidewalk into the sphere of influ ence of the inhabitants of the dwelling. Only the central portion of the roadbed can be considered fully public. Each city block has been subdivided so that all the grounds. which are fully enclosed. because each belongs to an individual family. The front lawns. The rear yards. and I–14 graphically summarize the major differences between residents’ ability to control the areas around their homes and public streets. a good portion of what is a legally public street is viewed by resi dents as an extension of their dwellings and under their sphere of Figure I–12: A four-city-block row-house development. Figures I–12.Creating Defensible Space shared by 24 to 100 families than it is in a building shared by 6 to 12 families. Figure I–12 is an illustration of a rowhouse development built at a density of 18 units to the acre. we find an urban fabric in which most of the outdoor areas and all of the indoor areas are private. 18 . Examining the entire four-block area. In fact they are only accessible from the interior of the dwelling units. we again find marked differences. In addi tion.
even the activity in this central portion would be considered accountable to neighboring residents. with access to them from the interior of their unit. Figure I–13: A four-city-block garden apartment development. If the street were narrow. 19 . The families living on the ground floor have been given their own patios within the interior courts. Because of the close jux taposition of the street to the private front lawn of each dwelling. The small front lawn adjacent to each building entry is the collective area for that entry’s inhabitants and is therefore semiprivate. The remainder of the interior court belongs to all the families sharing a clus ter and is only accessible from the semiprivate interior circulation space of each building. The rear courts within the interior of each cluster have been assigned both to individual families and to all the families sharing the cluster. all the entries face the street. These patios are therefore private.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles influence: that is. But even with all these limitations. the sidewalk and that portion of the roadbed on which their cars are parked. the neighboring sidewalk and parking zone on the street are considered by many residents as areas over which they exert some control. The streets and grounds are encompassed within the domain of the multifamily dwellings. Parking again is on the street immediately in front of each dwelling. this time accommodating 3-story garden apartments built at a density of 36 units to the acre. As in the row-house scheme in figure I–12. Because of the semiprivate nature of the grounds. In actual fact. residents are con cerned about ensuring its safety and act to maintain and control it. but each entry now serves six families rather than one and is thus semiprivate rather than private. the side- walk and street are not clear extensions of the realms of individual dwelling units. Figure I–13 shows the same four-block area. only the very central portion of each street is truly public in nature. making the remainder of the interior cluster semiprivate.
and corridors. All the grounds of the project must be maintained by management and patrolled by a hired security force. as a consequence. In these latter cases. The city streets and sidewalks. fire stairs. The placement of the highrise towers on the interior grounds has pro duced a system of off-street parking and access paths to the building that involves many turns and blind corners. residents are able to move in a Figure I–14: A four-city-block highrise development. The grounds of the development that abut the sidewalks are also public. All the streets and grounds are public. Nor do these fears occur in highrise buildings whose entries face the streets and are only set back slightly from them. The grounds around the buildings are accessible to everyone and are not assigned to particu lar buildings. feel little association with or responsibility for the grounds and even less association with the surrounding public streets. and. elevators. This problem does not arise in traditional row-house or walkup developments where building entries face the street and are set back from the sidewalk no more than 10 to 20 feet. This design succeeds in making public the entire ground surface of the four-block area. Each building entry serves 50 families by means of an interior circulation system consisting of a public lobby. must be maintained by the city sanitation department and patrolled by city police. but no building entries face them. 20 . The residents. The proclivity of landscape designers for positioning shrubs exactly at turns in the paths increases the hazards of these access routes.Creating Defensible Space Figure I–14 is the same four-block area shown in figures I–12 and I–13. Not only are the streets distant from the units. but now developed as a highrise superblock at a density of 50 dwelling units to the acre. in turn. as a result. Residents in such developments complain about the dangers of walking into the grounds to get to their buildings at night. so are the sidewalks and streets.
The project on the left is turned in on itself. away from the public street. This Figure I–15: A highrise and a walkup built at the same density. whereas the highrises have 60 families sharing a common entry. while the one on the right brings the streets within the control of the residents. Figure I–15 shows two housing projects located across the street from one another: a garden apartment complex on the right and a highrise on the left. Both projects are designed at the same density and with similar parking provisions (40 units to the acre and 1 parking space per unit). 21 . The project on the right is only three stories in height and has all the buildings and their entries juxtaposed with the city streets or the interior streets and parking. The highrise project has all building entries facing the interior grounds of the development. Parking has been designed as a continuous strip along the street. Each entry faces the street and serves only 6 families. further disassociating the buildings from the street. Small play and sitting areas have been provided near the entry to each walkup.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles straight line from the relative safety of the public street to what they can observe to be the relative safety of the well lighted lobby area in the interior of their buildings.
the smaller number of families sharing an entry and landing allows the families to control the public spaces better: They can more readily recognize residents from strangers and feel they have a say Figure I–16: Comparison of two ways to subdivide the same building envelope to serve the same number of families. The walkup develop ment achieves the same density as the highrise by covering more of the grounds (37 percent ground coverage versus 24 percent). Another important lesson to learn from this comparison is that 2 radi cally different building configurations can be produced at the same density: in this case a density of 40 units to the acre with 1-to-1 parking. For instance. What is true for site design is also true for building design: The same build ing envelope can be subdivided in different ways to produce dramatically different results. The residents in the walkup are a very short distance from the sur rounding streets. and only 2 families share a common landing on each floor.Creating Defensible Space serves to extend into the street the sphere of influence of each of the six families. and because of the positioning of the building entries. In the lower design. This is a very high density that will satisfy the economic demands of high land costs. play areas. In the upper layout. Both buildings serve a total of 24 families each. although access to the corridors on each floor is open to all 24 families in the building. In the lower design. and parking. all 24 families share 2 common entrances and 8 families share a common corridor on each floor. but in radically different ways. only 6 families share a common entry. 22 . the neighboring streets are brought within the sphere of influence of inhabitants. Municipalities that wish to reap the benefits of walkup versus highrise buildings must learn to be flexible with their floor-area-ratio requirements to assure that they are not depriving residents of a better housing option in order to get more open ground space that has little purpose. figure I–16 shows two ways of configuring a three-story walkup.
C. Correlations with dependent variables Social and physical variables Percentage of population receiving welfare Building height (number of units per entry) Project size (number of apartments) Percentage of families with female head on AFDC Number of publicly assisted projects in area Felony rate of surrounding community Per capita disposable income Indoor felony rate (1)a.46 (2) . 23 . a rise in crime rates. it would have been possible. This analytical technique called stepwise regression analysis is employed when many different factors interact to produce a particular effect. .05 level of significance at +.22 (3) .26 Robbery rate (1) .and moderate-income housing developments is useful not only for devising remedies to solve their problems but also for develop ing strategies for stabilizing neighboring communities composed of single-family housing.33 Felony rate (1) .27. The technique isolates those factors that contribute to the effect most strongly and independently of other factors.36 (3) .25 Indoor robbery rate (1) . In figure I–17 the percentage of popu lation receiving welfare is shown to be the most important factor.01 level of significance at +.44 (5) .21. such as. the percentage of one-parent families receiving Aid to Families with Depen dent Children (AFDC). If this were a two-story building rather than a three-story building. in the lower design.54 (5) . An understanding of the interac tion of the social and physical factors that create high crime rates in low.51 (2) . These include: the percent- age of resident population receiving welfare (excluding the elderly). and the per capita disposable income of the project’s residents. to give each family its own individual entry directly off the street and thus avoid having any interior public spaces at all.41 (5) .22 ■ Social factors and their interaction with the physical (2) .Y. followed by building height or the number of families sharing the entry to a building.47 (2) .36 (3) .Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles in determining accepted behavior.36 (3) . Housing Authority police data for 1967: 87 housing projects.and moderate-income projects operated by the New York City Housing Authority. Those social variables that correlated highly with different types of crime also correlated highly with each other. Figure I–17 shows the influence of different social and physical factors on the crime rates in low.26 (4) .49 N.41 (4) .27 (4) . .25 (5) . a Numbers in parentheses indicate rank order of correlation in creating stepwise multiple regressions.36 (4) . Figure I–17: Crime rates as explained by social and physical variables.
and (2) those such as “building height” or “the number of units per entry” that affect the ability of residents to control their environment. if certain social characteristics such as the percentage of AFDC families correlate highly with crime rate. The physical factors that correlate most strongly with crime rates are. large low-income projects. and the commission of crime against residents in ghetto areas requires minimal skill and risk. and particularly the poor of racial minorities. The significance of this aggregation is not simply that the presence of more potential criminals creates proportionally more crime. young teenage AFDC mothers are often vic timized by their boyfriends. the criminal activity by the poor is tolerated. Thus. if not condoned. 24 . the poor. in order of importance: the height of the buildings. The above suggests that two classes of physical factors contribute to crime rates: (1) those such as “project size” or the “number of publicly assisted projects in the area” that reinforce social weakness and pathol ogy. management. which in turn correlates highly with the number of apartments sharing the entry to a building. The first class of physical factors may also be considered another class of social variable: For instance. are unable to demand much in the way of police pro tection.Creating Defensible Space My interviews with residents. or low-income projects sur rounded by other low-income projects. among the poor. and the number of other publicly assisted housing projects in the area. but also that a concentration of potential criminals actually increases the rate of crime. the size of the housing project or “the total number of dwelling units in the project”. suffer a higher crime rate than small or isolated projects even when the percentage of AFDC families remains the same in all the projects. then we can anticipate that a large number of such families gathered together in one area may aggravate the crime problems still further and increase the per capita crime rate. families with only one adult present are less able to con trol their teenage children. and police provide the fol lowing explanation for the correlation of these social factors and crime rates: A one-parent household headed by a female is more vulnerable to criminal attack.
stairs. The truck is then emptied in a matter of minutes and the loot hidden in vacant apartments.S. Highway 1 entering New York City. By contrast the residents of large.611 felonies reported in all New York City Housing Authority projects in 1969 (excluding intrahousehold incidents). by throwing the driver out and driving the truck into the project. The higher crime rate experienced by residents in large multifamily dwellings is mostly attrib utable to the occurrence of robberies in the interior common-circulation areas of multifamily buildings: lobbies. Teenage project residents have developed a pattern of hijacking trucks at the stoplight. The most fascinating finding to come out of the data analysis presented in Defensible Space (1972) was. the influence of building height and number of units per entry in predicting crime rate. Regardless of the social character istics of inhabitants. Most of the crime experienced by residents of single-family buildings is burglary. and elevators.786. there is a particularly notorious project in Jersey City that is located adjacent to U.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles A frequent complaint from residents of communities surrounding large public housing projects is that the teenage criminals living in the projects make use of the large. committed when members of the family are either away from home or asleep. 3. A traffic light at an intersection that borders the project forces truckers to stop there on their way into New York. Of the crimes 25 . were committed in the interior public areas of buildings. For example. anonymous environment of the housing project as a place to retreat and hide. or 44 percent. multifam ily dwellings experience both burglaries and robberies. In addition to the fact that buildings with a large number of families sharing an entry experience higher crime rates than those with few fami lies per entry. hallways. The relationship between the socioeconomic characteristics of residents and a project’s crime rate had long been suspected. the physical form of housing was shown to play an important role in reducing crime and in assisting residents in controlling behavior in their housing environments. they are also vulnerable to additional types of criminal activity. Of a total of 8. therefore. These are also the areas where criminals wait to approach their victims and force them into apartments for the purpose of robbing them.
or 84 percent. stairways.165. Moderate-income 2-parent families living 6–7 Floor 12–30 Floor Medium rises Highrises 26 . in fact. Although two-parent moderate-income families suffer higher crime rates in highrise buildings than they do in walkups. 22 percent. Figure I–18 compares the vulnerability to crime of low-income one-parent families in different building types with the experience of moderateincome two-parent families living in the same building types. The more complex and anonymous the housing environment. were robberies. The public housing projects now experienc ing the highest vacancy rates are those that consist of the worst mixture of social and physical attributes. The physical form of residential environment can. the results are nothing short of disastrous. These are the further results of the 1972 Defensible Space analysis of New York City housing authority data. 41 percent. The breakdown by location of the felonies taking place in interior pub lic areas was: elevators. the physical characteristics of the buildings and the project can exert a counteracting influence. It shows that low-income one-parent families are more vulnerable to poor building design than moderate-income twoparent families. roof land ings. 3. 8 percent. hallways. 3–4 Floor Walkups Figure I–18: Variations in crime rate as produced by different socioeconomic groups occupying different building types. 9 percent. 18 percent. lobbies. the crime rate does not increase as dramatically with building height as it does for low-income families.Creating Defensible Space committed in interior public areas. but when poor and broken families are grouped together in such a setting. Although the socioeconomic charac teristics of the residents exert a strong influence on crime rate. the more difficult it is for a code of behavior following societal norms to become established among residents. 2 percent. ameliorate the effect of many of the problems created by the concentration of low-income one-parent fami lies with teenage children. and other. It is even difficult for moderate-income families with two adult heads of household to cope with crime and van dalism problems in poorly designed environments.
elderly people. because it has proven unusable for welfare families with children. But one should not conclude from this that highrises are not suitable for other lifestyle groups. Elderly people do not like walking stairs and appreciate an elevator building. With the use of gates and fencing. Retired elderly often live away from their children. If we also design the ground floor of an elderly highrise as a communal and recreation area. at present. However.000-unit agglomerations. It would not be wise to convert 1 of 10 highrise buildings for the elderly. If a problem arises. may lend itself to conversion for the exclusive use of the elderly. and the need for such a concentration of the elderly is. just not there. do very well in highrise buildings as long as the buildings are kept exclusively for the elderly. Chicago. and Boston were built as 1. the com munity surrounding such a 1.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles in 12. while keeping the adja cent 9 buildings for families with children. they can have access to a hundred other families within a highrise building. Many of our highrise public housing projects in large cities like New York. For instance. we can create a security station at the building entry door that can be manned by elderly volunteers. 27 . The elderly would be victimized and refuse to live in such an environment. The lesson we can learn from this is that some of the highrise stock we have inherited. the grounds surrounding their building can also be secured and defined for their exclusive use. ■ The suitability of building types to lifestyle groups I have explained the problems resulting from housing low-income fami lies with children in highrise buildings. and their elderly neighbors become their new extended family. even those of low income.to 30-story buildings experience a lower crime rate than lowincome 1-parent families living in 6.000-unit agglomeration will meanwhile have been devastated—no place to be putting the elderly. we should not jump for joy too quickly. Also. a push of a button summons the police.and 7-story buildings. At the push of an elevator button.
The two physical factors were the size of the development and the number of families sharing common entries into a building. the more difficult it is to lay 28 . the only variables that lend themselves to modification are the physical. and social services. ■ Factors influencing crime and instability Our institute’s study of the Factors Influencing Crime and Instability in Federally-Assisted Housing (Newman and Franck. and stairs are. The results showed that two physical factors and two social factors accounted for most of the variation. The two social factors were the percentage of families on AFDC and the ratio of teenagers to adults. elevators. management effectiveness. allowing even one gang or group of drug dealers to contaminate all of its public space. and form of ownership.Creating Defensible Space Finally. including socioeconomic characteristics. As public housing has become housing for the poorest of the poor. Project size is a measure of the overall concentration of low-income families in a project or cluster of projects. and San Francisco. St. first on the part of the residents. We found that the larger the concentration. refuse collection. even when highrises exist in isolation. education. then by hous ing management. The more residents who have to share common areas. It used a path analysis to take into account the influence of other factors. The apathy that comes with stigmatization leads to neglect and withdrawal. and finally by the municipal agencies that service the project: police. Louis. A large project provides a continuous area in which gangs can operate. parks and recreation. Project size affects stig matization—as perceived both by the outside world and by the project residents themselves. 1980) involved 44 moderate-income housing sites and 29 public housing sites in three cities: Newark. the cost of converting a building made up of three-bedroom apartments into one-bedroom units may be prohibitive. The larger the number of units sharing common entries is a measure of how public the interior corridors. the more residents felt isolated from the rest of society and felt their perceived differences to be greater. quality of city police and security services. project size and the number of apartments sharing common entries.
Further results of our path analysis showed that building size has impor tant causal effects on fear of crime [0. on community instability of 0. The numbers within the brackets below show the amount of variation in residents’ behavior that is explained by building size. it means that an increase in building size has a negative effect on that behavior. If the number is preceded by a minus. These findings can be interpreted as follows: A unit increase in the percentage of AFDC families living in a development will produce 0.51. (ii) Social interaction with their neighbors [– 0. This demonstrates that building form has a very strong predictive capacity on public area use.39]. However. Building size has a statistically significant direct causal effect on resi dents’ behavior as follows: (i) Use of public areas in their development [– 0.31]. instability. as in the 1970 New York City public housing study discussed earlier. and on crimes against persons of 0.50]. the socioeconomic characteristics of resi dents have a total causal effect on fear of crime of 0.59 of a unit increase in fear of crime. ownership.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles claim to them.38] and on community instability [0.50 of a unit in resi dents’ use of public areas. (iii) Sense of control over the interior and exterior public areas of their development [– 0. In the case of residents’ use of public areas. the findings from our study of moderate-income developments showed that the socioeconomic characteristics of residents also have strong causal effects on fear. 29 . managerial.29]. and the more difficult it is to agree with other residents on the care and control of these areas. Independent of other factors. independent of socioeconomic. independent of other factors that are also likely to predict it. police. Community instability is measured by apart ment turnover and vacancy rates and by residents’ desire to move. the more difficult it is to distinguish other residents from intruders. and crime. for instance. and guard service factors.32.59. the numbers in brackets mean that an increase of 1 unit in building size will cause a reduction of 0.
socioeconomic characteristics of residents. The effects of building size. Another way of stating these findings is that the combination of these factors predict 69 percent of the variation in fear.39 for crimes against persons (p < 0.69 for fear (p < 0. instability.Creating Defensible Space The data from this analysis can be summarized in still another way by looking at the results of the regression analysis. and police and guard service together produce the following: R 2 = 0. management performance. The R2 is a sign used to represent the percent of variance in one factor that is predicted by all other factors acting together. R2 = 0. 30 .67 for community instability (p < 0.001). it is the socioeconomic characteristics of residents and building size that together predict most of the variation in fear.001). But more important still. and R2 = 0. form of ownership. for instance. of all the factors in the predictive model. and crime.05).
minority renters. but over time these were replaced again by lower income renters who were mostly African American. the community went from a population of mostly white homeowners to 50-percent African American and 60-percent renter. Note the expressway that connects downtown to the suburbs and the exit ramp at the foot of the Five Oaks community. 31 31 . and general disinvestment. The replace ment population was initially composed of working-class homeowner families. manufacturing. It contains 2.S. the continuing replacement of white. census showed that in the 10 years between 1980 and 1990. and office buildings. is a one-half-square mile residential area located a mile north of the downtown. the visual presence of drug dealers and prostitutes. Ohio. Not only was Figure II–1: Map locating Five Oaks and downtown Dayton.Mini-neighborhoods in TWO Five Oaks. vandalism by 38 percent. inhabiting one. violent crimes increased by 77 percent. Ohio C H A P T E R The Five Oaks community in Dayton. The U. During the year before the Defensible Space modifications were under- taken. Dayton experienced rapid suburban expansion following World War II. or about 5. and overall crime by 16 percent. The exodus of the middle-class population from the city was accompanied by the relocation of shopping facilities. robberies by 76 percent. Like most American cities. middle. single-family homes being converted to multifamily use.and working-class property owners with low-income. Dayton. rising crime.and two-family homes and some small apart ment buildings.000 households.000 people. The problems experienced by Five Oaks are typical of older urban com munities located near the downtown core: heavy through traffic.
most of the cut-through traffic was headed. pimps. and pros titutes had brazenly taken over the streets. but the results were only temporary.Creating Defensible Space crime increasing at a maddening pace. Gun shots could be heard at all times of the day and night. while regional values rose 6 percent. The Dayton Area Board of Realtors reported that sales values had dropped by 11 percent in that 1 year. blaring boomboxes meant to attract drug purchasers disturbed everyone’s sleep. Five Oaks is one of these. For this reason many in the city government felt that what happens to Five Oaks will happen to the rest of Dayton. Downtown Dayton still retains some of its finer old office and shopping buildings. Every second house in Five Oaks was up for sale. Five Oaks is a community symptomatic of the city’s problems and aspirations. Children were virtually kept locked up in their homes. But Five Oaks’ location between the downtown and the suburbs also turned its interior streets into a network of cut-through traffic as com muters used them to avoid the larger. threatened people in their own streets. If Five Oaks fell. A 13-member police strike force hit the neighborhood round the clock every few months. Of Five Oaks’ total traffic volume. It is encountered on a daily ba sis by those coming to the downtown area to work and shop. but drug dealers. there would be a domino effect on the surrounding communities. the byproduct of these illicit activities. Figure II–2: Typical street in Five Oaks. traffic-laden arterials at the periph ery of the community. 32 . and it serves as a gateway between the downtown and the subur ban residential communities to the north. and speeding cars. Neighborhoods beautifully constructed in the 1920s border this downtown. 35 percent was found to be cutting through the neighborhood. The general effect was to burden its streets so heavily as to make them unsuitable for normal. quiet residential use—a use common to cul-de-sac streets in the suburbs where. ironically.
deterioration of the housing stock. did suspect that the frequency of burglaries and auto thefts in the community stemmed directly from drug-related activities. many homeowners had moved away and rented them— often in subdivided form and at times illegally and in a substandard fashion. Five Oaks was perceived as an ideal community for drug dealing directed at middle-income outsiders. So the activity moved to Five Oaks. The community had entered a spiral of decline that appeared irreversible. Even the most innocent of activities. and visually evident. This led to a reluctance on the part of neighboring homeowners to keep up their own properties. transient renters who were seen as a threat to the stability of the neighborhood. The lack of shared values and aspirations among neighbors increased feelings of iso lation and the perception of being on their own. One wonders if the drug purchasers thought that the residents of Five Oaks would protect them or call the police if a drug deal went sour or a pimp got too greedy. and their clients was disturbing to the community out of all proportion to the number of vehicles. such as children playing in the street. The only buyers were slumlords.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. To the immediate west of Five Oaks is a community that also had drug dealers working its streets. 30 percent vacant. Dayton. because of its location and socioeconomic makeup and the perception that it was still safe. 33 . Ohio Five Oaks was also experiencing social problems: The dynamics of population change in the community had led to increased tensions between the older. however. but that community had become predominantly Afri can American. The police. The result of these inexpensive and inadequate conversions was the rapid. or one neighbor asking the other for more careful garbage disposal. The noisy and blatantly evident traffic of drug dealers. Unable to sell their homes for a price that would pay off their outstand ing mortgages. Ironically. permanent homeowners and the new. middle-class buyers. It was per ceived as too dangerous a place to buy drugs and solicit prostitutes by white. Houses were selling for one-half to one-quarter of their replacement cost. and severely deteriorated. prostitutes. or threat. was perceived as intolerance and incivility. they represented.
serves the entire urban region.and threestory apartment buildings. Five Oaks contains a variety of different types of housing: Some streets have large. two-family houses that share a common wall. one that would visibly alter the entire pattern of use and would make itself evident at the scale of the whole community. who found that drug dealers were unde manding tenants. constructed of brick and stone and situated on large lots. The community also houses some important institutions: The Grandview hospital complex.Creating Defensible Space Figure II–3: Deteriorated two-story walkup in Five Oaks being rented to drug dealers. An immediate change to the infrastructure was necessary. located in the southeast quadrant of Five Oaks. two large parochial schools on Figure II–4: Street in Five Oaks with various building types. Community and municipal efforts to acquire and refur bish deteriorated housing had barely any impact. while others house two. stately homes on them. Still other streets contain twostory. Slumlords. 34 . Five times as many houses were being lost as were being refur bished. The problem with the city’s program of refurbishing single homes scattered throughout Five Oaks was that it did not produce any visual evidence of rehabilitative change at the scale of the entire community. rented to them and let their properties decline still further—pulling the condition of adjacent housing down with them. Some of the arterial streets have medium highrise apart ment buildings on them. others have wood frame houses on small lots.
The west and east borders of Five Oaks are defined by two major arteri als that link northern suburban Dayton with downtown Dayton (Salem Avenue on the west and North Main on the east). Most of the traffic on the streets of Five Oaks was perceived as going through the neighborhood heading for suburban destinations to the north. Corpus Christi and Dayton Christian. The 1990 census revealed that 3 of the 5 sectors that compose Five Oaks have 64-percent or more renters. serve the broader city as well as the immediate community. Figure II–5: Map of Five Oaks showing internal streets and arterial boundaries. The northern boundary of Five Oaks is a residential street called Delaware Avenue. The remaining 2 sectors have 43-percent and 49-percent renters. Its southern boundary is a mixed residential and institutional street called Grand Avenue. 35 . Dayton.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. Ohio the east side of Five Oaks. A further mixed-use residential and commercial street defines a portion of the Five Oaks boundary to the east: Forest Avenue.
36 .Creating Defensible Space Because most of the dwellings in Five Oaks consist of one. Its large. and hospitals. on a larger lot. At the low end. well-constructed houses could not be easily replicated today: Their materials are too costly. Because African Ameri cans earn about two-thirds the income of whites. depending on its condition. Despite the evident change revealed by the census data. the data reveal that many homeowners have moved away and are renting their units in either their origi nal form or subdivided.000. three-bedroom house on a small lot sold for between $45. could be purchased for Figure II–7: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of African-American renters in different areas. it would appear that the rental market is at the lower end of the scale. brick house with ornate architecture. quality woodwork and glass. Five Oaks contin ued to be attractive to people work ing for institutions located in the downtown area: for example. city government. 1990.000 and $55. ranging from 10 percent to 29 percent. A larger. Figure II–7 shows that most of the renters in Five Oaks are African American. the universities. This is partially because they were unable to sell their homes at reasonable prices. a wood frame and shingled. and the craftsmen who put them together are of a bygone era. Citywide. Figure II–6: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of renters in different areas. Dayton has a vacancy rate of only 6 percent. 1990.and two-family houses. Figure II–8 shows that the three sectors of Five Oaks that have a high percentage of renters also have a high vacancy rate.
” she said. “was talking Defensible Space as a remedy to some of its crime and traffic problems. Ohio $75. the racially mixed residential community near Dayton’s downtown. Louis. from the horse’s mouth. and there was some disagreement in people’s minds about what it meant. and lectures to both the city staff and the community at large. would I care to take a first-hand look at the communities in question?” I was not sure whether I was being asked or told. a predominantly AfricanAmerican public housing project. Major Jaruth Durham-Jefferson. a two-family brick house with each unit having two bedrooms could be purchased for as little as $58. meetings with key city officials and staff. Dayton. 1990 37 . and Dunbar Manor.000. made an inquiring telephone call. night and day tours of many of Dayton’s communities. She was a forceful but charming African American who had heard of my work with street closures in St. stately houses on large lots that had a replacement cost of more than $500. From the positive response to this initial visit by residents and staff came a request from the city manager for our institute to embark on a program that would produce schematic plans for the modification of two commu nities: Five Oaks. These two communities were typical of many in Dayton. The city manager hoped that by having city staff work closely with me. “The Dayton community.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks.000. they could learn how it was done and could then Figure II–8: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of vacancies in different areas. Would I care to come for a visit so they could hear. That telephone call led to a 3-day trip. Should one be interested in rental property. The large. In preparation. what it was all about? And while I was there. ■ Initiating the process Our institute first became involved in Five Oaks when the Dayton Police Department’s superintendent of com munity relations.000. Major Durham-Jefferson had supplied me with the demographic and crime data I had requested and scheduled all the meetings.000 could be purchased for just over $100.
Not knowing our identity. The night of my arrival I insisted on a tour of the neighborhoods we would be visiting the next day. emergency response.Creating Defensible Space apply the methodology elsewhere themselves. so as not to create a disturbance. He asked the planning department and highway department to each assign a staff person to work with me full time while I was in Dayton. We drove in Major Durham-Jefferson’s own car. This informs the city department heads that the concept is being taken seriously. and 38 . The chief of police was also present. The police also made crime data available as needed and were a con tinuing supportive presence. it is essential also to have the mayor. The chief of police himself attended the large public presentations. snow removal. Police rep resentatives attended all meetings with the community and city staff. I particularly insisted on having all those people who were likely to be most opposed to the concept present. but he was expected to be a proponent of the idea. ■ Initial presentations to city staff and the community The initial 3-day visit to Five Oaks was critical in determining whether the city and community would buy into the concept. “The only way to find out what we’re dealing with. community relations. and a few city council members present. “is to see what is going down at night. Major Durham-Jefferson looked a little concerned.” I told her. gar bage collection. In this book I will only talk about the Five Oaks portion of our work in Dayton because the modifications to the Dunbar Manor public housing project have yet to be completed or evaluated. rather than in a police car. the city manager. The city manager had assembled most department heads. Ray Reynolds.” During that night tour we witnessed a drug raid by police in the public housing project and saw drug dealing and prostitutes on many streets within Five Oaks. including: fire. The day-to-day running of the Five Oaks project was assigned to the city’s director of urban development. planning. drug dealers vied with each other to make a sale. and traffic. The next morning’s meeting with city staff was scheduled early so as not to disrupt their working day. At this initial meeting.
but it is just as important to know that as to learn the inter nal pecking order and priorities at city hall. That meant that representatives from every city department would be involved in every step of the process. and stabilize neighborhoods. from the start. Dayton. I told them that they were free to interrupt at any time with any questions. what their con cerns are. At the initial meeting. I explained the Defensible Space con cept by showing what I had done in other cities. and it was going to disrupt traffic flow. the fire and ambulance people were going to have to memorize new routes for getting to places quickly. we proposed something they thought was unworkable. in Dayton. I have found that. For instance. but sitting with them at the table rather than talking from a podium. increase property values. He must understand who all the players are. In planning mini-neighborhoods. I explained that the reason they were the very first in the city to see the concept was that I knew they were not going to like it. This is as true for the politics within city hall as it is for neighborhood rivalries. but it was also going to make a big difference to the life and viability of communities and to the city’s tax base. it is very important to get to know all the players and what is bothering them. It was going to complicate how they collected garbage and how they removed snow. Ohio they look to elected officials for guidance about whether to be receptive to the idea and give their cooperation. If. the current director of the planning department had just been demoted from assistant city manager by a new administration. at any time. and I sat around a table together. We would then try to find a way to modify what we were planning so as to accommodate them. elected officials. the city staff. We would not proceed with the plan until we felt we had arrived at something everyone could accept. I then explained that the plan would only be prepared with their con tinual participation.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. Using a slide projector. because it would reduce crime. and how to involve them in the process. Mini-neighborhoods only work if the community and the city staff really accept the idea. a planner must take into account where all the opposition to his concepts is likely to come from and address them first. Sometimes what is being expressed as objective opposition to the idea has its origin in per sonal politics. I wanted them to say so. He felt that he should 39 .
we all had lunch together at an infor mal eating place. 40 . we frequently stopped to walk the streets and alleys. I again showed slides about what I had accomplished in other cities. I explained the concept to them and sought their input. this is a source of useful information. I took slides as we walked and had them developed within the hour so that they could be incorporated into later presentations. Otherwise. Once I knew that. Following the neighborhood tour. I invited the city manager and the director of urban development out for a drink and learned that the planning director had hoped that he would become the new city manager. the planning director kept raising philosophical and opera tional objections to the evolving plans. I gave a formal presentation to a previously well-publicized town meeting. The Five Oaks plan was the new city manager’s first showcase project. try ing out ideas on them about which streets to close. the appearance given is of an outsider telling the community how to do things. but soon realized that something more was wrong. and the planning director was not going to do anything to help it along. I toured Five Oaks in a minivan with community leaders and city staff. With neighborhood people coming into contact with so many city department heads. The presentation was followed by an open question period that lasted more than an hour. the discussion often went off on tangents—old wounds were opened. Following that initial meeting. but this time I also in cluded slides of the streets I had just walked through to show how simi lar the situations were. Even though one of his staff was assigned to me full time. This was intended as an opportunity for everyone to relax. I attempted to address them all. A few hundred people attended. On tour. It is important that this community meeting be chaired by a city staff person and that city staff appear at the podium with me to help answer some questions. As many community people and city personnel as possible were invited. picking up residents along the way who had earlier been alerted. I tried to sidestep the planning director rather than engage in long public discussions with him. However. That evening.Creating Defensible Space have been made the coordinator of this project rather than the city’s director of urban development. and it gives city staff a sense of what is taking place on the streets of their neighborhoods.
A call to the police by any resident would mean that criminals and their clients would be meeting the police on their way out. they reached out to other neighborhoods and to the larger urban community. and the concern over incivilities.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. as too risky in which to do business. Tensions between renters and property owners. Ohio In my presentations. directional avenues laden with traffic. and it completely changes the character of the streets (instead of being long. Dayton. will be lim ited to only one entry off an arterial street. I explain that access to the newly defined mini-neighborhoods. they become places where children can play safely and neighbors can interact). In other cities. There would no longer be a multi tude of escape routes open to them down every city street. and particularly by their clients. Fewer cars make it easier to recognize neighbors—and strangers. facing the world alone. as they would have to leave the same way they entered. it completely removes vehicular through-traffic (the only traffic remaining will be seeking destinations within each minineighborhood). People will only be able to drive out the same way they came in. mini-neighborhoods have not 41 . I explain what the restructuring of streets to create mini-neighborhoods accomplishes: It alters the entire look and function of the community. The subdivision of a community into mini-neighborhoods is intended to encourage the interaction of neighbors. Five Oaks demonstrated that once people came together within their own mini-neighborhood. which will contain three to six streets. They will no longer feel locked up in their houses. Parents will watch their children playing in the now quiet streets and get to know each other. Such a street system will clearly be perceived by criminals. the streets are perceived as being under the control of the residents. that the gates will only restrict vehicular traffic: Pedestrians will be able to freely walk everywhere they did before. will likely also diminish as both parties living on the same closed street come to know each other through greater association and are able to develop standards of mutually acceptable behavior together. It is important to explain. again and again. Limiting access and egress to one opening for each mini-neighborhood means that criminals and their clients would have to think about coming into a mini-neighborhood to transact their business. By limiting vehicular access.
Louis (Newman. This is something we documented in our study of the closed streets of St. ■ A community’s willingness to cover 50 percent of the cost makes a city more receptive to the idea and gives the project priority in the city’s capital improvement budget. Paying for onehalf the cost of the modifications gives residents a possessive attitude toward the gates and the semiprivate streets they create. Cities can use a variety of means for paying for the modifications: In St. reinvestment in one’s own property no longer has to be undertaken as a risky. If. individual act but as an activity done in concert with one’s neighbors. in Florida. for whatever reason. some cities used CDBG funds to pay for the implementation costs.Creating Defensible Space only arrested decline. the community will have more leverage in preventing the city from removing them if it has paid for one-half the construction costs. while others issued special district tax bonds to pay for the work and taxed the beneficiaries accordingly. Still other cities split the costs between residents and CDBG or capital improvement funds. Louis. and enhancing proprietary feelings is what Defensible Space modifications are all about. each household pays about $60 extra in real-estate taxes per year over a 10-year period to cover the cost of the modifications. ■ It gives the community more control over the future of the modifica tions. they have made people realize they could intervene to change things. Wayno. Cities are always looking for ways to stretch their limited funds and politicians want to take as much credit as they can in physically evident change. At the level of the neigh borhood. a new city administration decides. 42 . the middle-income residents almost universally paid for it themselves. Grandin. 1974) and witnessed not only in Dayton but in our mini-neighborhood projects in Florida. Resident participation in paying for the gates is important for three reasons: ■ It instills a sense of ownership. about $10. down the road. that it no longer wants the gates. and led them to become active in city politics. The cost of creating mini-neighborhoods is low. Using the latter method.000 for each gate serving 30 to 40 households.
Ohio It is very important to make clear to residents that most of their internal streets will be converted to cul-de-sacs and that in the first few months following the modifications residents. and what the plan for their mini-neighborhood will actually look like.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. including some of those who voted to have them installed. they will need time to digest them. people will need to see how the planning process evolves. ■ Community participation in designing the minineighborhoods It is critical to the success of the plan that as many people as possible partici pate in defining the boundaries of their mini-neighborhoods. people will not be able to believe the improvement in the quality of their lives produced by these changes and will insist that the gates remain. many residents will want the gates removed. But after 4 months and after residents and their friends have had a chance to learn to find their way around. At the conclusion of these initial meetings. in deciding which streets should remain open. 43 . These plans showed each house on each street Figure II–9: Greek cross plan for an ideal mini-neighborhood layout. During this initiation period. and service people will be inconvenienced. the overwhelming majority of Five Oaks resi dents voted to continue with the process. and where the gates should go. as this is premature: Most people will have heard of the Defensible Space and mini- neighborhood concepts only for the first time. that is. I called the community together and showed them large plans of Five Oaks. Dayton. whether their participation genuinely shapes the plan. After these initial meetings. I ask residents and city staff if the consensus is that we continue with the process to see if we can develop a plan or simply stop there. I specifically do not ask for approval of the concept. More importantly. their outside friends. On my sec ond trip to Dayton.
semidetached. for they take resi dents too far out of their way and produce too much of their own internal traffic. 44 . so a mini-neighborhood should consist of a grouping of no more than three to six streets. building size. This will produce a great amount of internal traffic. and density. row houses. ■ Cul-de-sac configurations should not be too large.Creating Defensible Space and each shed in each alley. the other five will have gates across them. for instance. The optimal configuration for a mini-neighborhood is a Greek cross. they will encounter others doing the same thing. residents will have to travel too long a distance to get to the end of their mini-neighborhood. ■ A mini-neighborhood should consist of a grouping of streets sharing similar housing characteristics: building type (such as detached. and traffic is exactly what we are trying to avoid. and walkups). Only one point of the cross will remain open. In the process. building materials. As much as possible. Figure II–10: Overly large cul-de-sac layout. If a mini-neighborhood is made up of a vertical with six horizontals. architectural style. these arterials should be on the border of the Five Oaks neighborhood to enable outsid ers to find their way in easily. a vertical with two hori zontals. setbacks from the street. access to the entry portals of each mini-neighborhood should be from existing arterial streets. I ex plained to the residents that they were now going to define their own minineighborhoods and outlined the prin ciples they should use in defining them: ■ Smallness is essential to identity. ■ To facilitate access by emergency vehicles. lot size. and then they will have to travel all the way back to get out of it.
A com mon mistake. Figure II–11: Schematic showing ideal way to access minineighborhoods from arterials. locate where they live. Such meetings often run for a few hours. is to make mini-neighborhoods too large.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. I ask people to volunteer to become mini-neighborhood captains. Their job is to make certain that every household in their mini-neighborhood is aware of what is being planned and participates in determining which street will remain open and where the gates will be placed. others would say no. “First make an X where you live and then show us what you think of as your mini-neighborhood. I then asked people to come up to the map.” Then I asked the rest of the audience: “How many of you who live nearby agree with their boundaries?” Some would say yes. It is usually possible to get any differences resolved. 45 . Dayton. And so it goes until we reach a consensus. and draw in their view of their mini-neighborhood. Then I ask if anybody else wants to change that boundary. Ohio ■ Mini-neighborhoods and their access arterials should be designed to facilitate access but discourage through-traffic in the overall Five Oaks community. It is important to keep in mind that this process has two functions: to under- stand the neighborhoods that exist in people’s minds. and to bring people together to begin planning for their own future. This will require putting fliers in everyone’s mailbox to announce meetings and city council hearings. This process inevitably elicits some friendly booing interspersed with applause. gave them each a different colored felt pen. and said. in any case. Once the mini-neighborhoods are defined. but sometimes it becomes necessary to put in two mini-neighborhoods where you might have anticipated only one. I would then ask the no persons to come up and take another colored pen.
They found that 35 percent was. and whether they contained single-family or multifamily buildings. Each mini-neighborhood contained between three and six streets. The one-half-square-mile Five Oaks community was divided into 10 mini-neighborhoods. The remaining eight mini-neighborhoods were primarily residential in character—one included part of the hospital complex. They were: Grand and Delaware going east-west. The major arterials that defined the periphery of the Five Oaks commu nity were retained intact and allowed east-west and north-south move ment past the community. each defined by the characteristics discussed earlier. and Salem. and Main going north-south. Minor modifications were made to accommodate traffic and emergency vehicle access but always with community approval. the materials of construction. I asked the highway department to undertake origin-destination studies to determine how much traffic on the streets of Five Oaks was simply driving through the neighborhood. Each mini-neighborhood was defined on the basis of a similarity in the size of the houses and lots. Figure II–12: Mini-neighborhood boundaries of Five Oaks as defined by residents. Corpus Christi and Grandview. 46 . Forest. housed the community’s major schools and hospital complex. They found that they could. I then asked them to determine whether the existing arterials at the periphery of Five Oaks would be able to handle the 35-percent cutthrough traffic that would be removed from the neighborhood streets.Creating Defensible Space ■ Traffic studies ROCKFORD KENILWORTH GRAFTON KENWOOD CORPUS CHRISTI HOMEWOOD HARVARD NEAL SQUIRREL GRANDVIEW As soon as the city of Dayton commit ted itself to the process. ■ Description of the Five Oaks mini-neighborhood plan The final Five Oaks mini-neighborhood plan that evolved under my guidance was very much what the community sketched at its meetings. Two of the minineighborhoods. Thirty-five streets and 25 alleys were closed.
Figure II–13: Mini-neighborhood plan for Five Oaks showing location of gates and entries into mini-neighborhoods. The internal. Dayton. Grafton. The 10 mini-neighborhoods were given temporary names for identifica tion purposes only. Rockford. Ohio Only one north-south arterial that was internal to the community was retained in my plan. Kenwood. The other two neighborhoods are Corpus Christi and Grandview. 47 . and Squirrel. Harvard. Richmond. These were the names of the most prominent street within each: Kenilworth. Richmond. and it is difficult to know whether that change was worthwhile.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. This produced some congestion on one or two streets. The community later decided that it would prefer to have Richmond interrupted so as to further discourage north-south through-traffic. the school and hospital complex. Old Orchard. Neal. Neal. Homewood. Homewood. two-way arterials that both define and give access to each of the minineighborhoods were: Five Oaks. and Rockford.
Only one entrance. We also recommended that a brick paving strip be introduced into the roadbed running between the two pillars. or portal. This would bring to the drivers’ fur ther attention the fact that they were entering a different kind of street. 48 . but the strip would produce a noise and a noticeable vibration as automobiles ran over it. Because the existing streets in Five Oaks are too narrow. inten tionally constricting the entry. We proposed the use of brick pillars that included the Five Oaks name and the name of the mini-neighborhood. or makes use of the intersecting alleys to provide a turnaround at the end of each deadend street.Creating Defensible Space A plan showing the workings of these access arterials and the cul-de-sac streets that serve each mini-neighborhood appears in figure II–13. and it is the only way out as well. A prominent symbol should be used to mark the entry and indicate that one is coming into a private world. The top of the bricks would be level with the road surface. is provided to each mini-neighborhood. Figure II–15: Proposed portal markers for mini-neighborhoods. The bricks are intentionally not raised above the surface of the road so they Figure II–14: Hammerhead turn at end of street. These pillars were to be placed to define the outer line of the curbside parking. the cul-de-sac at the end of each street is not actually a cul-desac but is either a hammerhead turn. We also proposed that the pillars be positioned within the roadbed.
Fire and emergency personnel should be given keys to them. In our design we had proposed two additional smaller gates above the sidewalks on either side of the road. these gates are able to be opened. 49 . A standard deadend street sign would also be added to explain that there was no other outlet. A fence would then con tinue the closure running from the pedestrian gate to some physical element on the adjoining property (fencing. The pillars actually installed by the city were positioned on the sidewalk on the far side of the road. The gates installed by the city limiting access and egress to and from each mini-neighborhood come very close to the ones we designed. was the result of the snow removal people saying that pillars located within the roadway would prove a hazard. or a building). shrubs. rather than the way we proposed. Ohio will not interfere with snow removal equipment.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. Dayton. such as access for fire trucks and ambulances. They proved to be barely visible and did little to identify the entry portals. In case of emergencies. Figure II–17: Proposed gates defining mini-neighborhoods. They are relatively prominent and serve to deter vehicular access while allowing pedestrians entry. The decision to position them this way. These pedestrian gates were to remain open all the time. a few residents living near these gates should also be given keys to them. To simplify access to all streets by moving vans. Figure II–16: Actual position of portals as installed.
In the street closures implemented in Florida. Only 70 percent of the residents wanted the mini-neighborhood design imple mented. the city would remove them. eliminating the pedestrian gate on either side of the road and the fence extension from the pedestrian gate onto the adjacent prop erty. however. The city used large reflectors instead. 50 . The lack of snow and the lack of street curbs and gutters allowed that to be done where it could not be done up north. In implementing our designs. These floral solutions must be careful not to interfere with existing drainage patterns. It should be remembered that children would still have to walk through various mini-neighborhoods to get to and from school. or wiring from the nearest electric utility pole. It can also deprive the fire department of the flexibility of an operable gate in the case of a serious emergency. This policy dictated that the gate design be simple to minimize costs both for implementation and removal. The repositioning of rainwater sewers and the provision of new gutters to accommodate a planted area at the end of a street can prove prohibi tively costly. saving money by not having to provide lights. the city manager promised that a survey would be taken at the end of the first year. and that pedestrians would continue to have unlimited access to every street.Creating Defensible Space Figure II–18: Gates as actually installed. These were intended to illuminate the gates at night. Although there is still another rea son why the pedestrian gates were eliminated: The city wanted it made clear that the gates were intended to restrict automobile traffic only. The result is not too elegant and detracts from the stylishness of the gate. and in order to placate the others. replacement bulbs. The basic reason for the city changing the gate design was cost. The city also eliminated the lights we proposed for the tops of the pillars. If the majority of residents wanted the gates removed. the city decided to simplify my gate design. communities used attrac tive plantings set against walls rather than gates to close off streets.
For maximum effectiveness in facili tating community control and in reducing crime. Garbage trucks were to be the dominant users of the locked alley gates.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. The first measure was critical to the success of the physical plan. In some instances. But these physical modifications were only the first of three other mea sures implemented in the Five Oaks community. 51 . In all cases. the alleys were too narrow to allow a garbage truck to turn around and go back the way it came. Residents did not need to open the alley gates because they could turn their cars around in the alleys as they entered or left their parking garages. ■ Allied measures for stabilizing the community The physical modifications were intended to dramatically redefine the community and give residents greater control and use of their streets. The three other measures are listed below in order of their importance. Figure II–19: Gates across the rear alleys. such as in the Grafton and Homewood mini-neighborhoods. a common alley served streets in two different mini-neighborhoods. access to the alleys had to be limited to the residents of each mini-neighborhood and to the gar bage collection vehicles. Parking garages are seen in background. Dayton. This would also be inefficient and costly. making it impossible to make each mini-neighborhood truly separate. Garbage trucks had to have the ability to continue through to the alley in the next mini-neighborhood. Access to the alleys as well as to the streets was closed off by locked gates to which only the sanitation department had keys. and that these alleys are used for both parking and garbage collection complicated our plan appreciably. Ohio ■ The alley problem in Dayton The fact that many of the houses in Five Oaks are also served by alleys.
Immediately after the street closings. now acts in concert to alert the police and provide them with support in their anticrime efforts. They had done this before in Five Oaks. These calls for service will diminish rapidly as the word about the street clo sures spreads to criminals and their clients. One of the benefits of street closure and the creation of mini-neighborhoods is that it brings neighbors together in unified action to address their joint problems. Police will find themselves working with a community that has a clearer sense of its own values and how they want the police to assist them. pimps. Continual police liaison with the community and their participation in community planning meetings is also essential to giving the community the reassurance it needs. police say it takes a much smaller expenditure of force on their part to keep Five Oaks free of crime. police. It should prove easier for the police to make arrests and to discourage further criminal activity within the community. now know many community residents by name. Police officers come to be recognized and known by their first names. police will be called upon by the community more frequently. It also focuses their attention on removing criminal activity from their communities. Once the gates were installed. The police. When a problem arises. 52 . A year after the modifications. Creating minineighborhoods has produced a genuine appreciation of the police for the work they do and has resulted in a focused program by the police to eliminate the real problems threatening the community. Rather than having one or two hesitant neigh bors acting in isolation to bring criminal activity to the attention of the police. However. and prostitutes. an entire street. but the criminals had come back a week or 2 later. The effect of creating mini-neighborhoods in other communities where I have worked has been to personalize community/police relations. or a mini-neighborhood. they did not return. in a concerted effort. came in and flushed out the drug dealers.Creating Defensible Space Coordinate police activities with target areas. when the criminals were removed after the gates were installed. A united community can more readily document criminal activity and photograph and identify criminals. they usually know exactly where to go to address it. I believe that this police component is very important to the success of the entire program. in turn.
it has brought in revenue that more than covers the cost of the program. It is called a code team and works as follows: Using the State powers given to police to enforce municipal ordinances—that means powers up to and including arrest—the police are able to issue warnings stating that code violations are arrestable offenses that can result in immediate court appearances. the city of Fort Lauderdale developed an innovative code enforcement procedure that has not only proved to be quick and effective. all 250 have 53 . Court appearances are usually sched uled within 30 days of a recorded violation. and the perception that the community is out of control and going downhill. There were some truly disrepu tably maintained properties in Five Oaks that discouraged adjoining property owners from making their own improvements. it brings down sales prices in the surrounding area. the landlords rented them out to drug dealers. Dayton. In this way. Their owners were milking them for what they could and not reinvesting a penny. The code team usually includes a building inspector and a police officer or a fire marshall. years can go by before any fines are exacted. and it attracts drug dealers who increase crime. Of the 250 violations cited since the code team went into action in Fort Lauderdale. traffic. They prove cumbersome to implement against slumlords who retain attorneys to endlessly delay the resolution of a complaint and see the small fines exacted by the city as part of their cost of doing business. Using the normal process. they could be shut down by the city for being beyond repair. the necessary expertise can be presented before the court at the same time. Although normal municipal code enforcement procedures do exist. Ohio Improve code enforcement procedures. thus further deflating property values. who were pleased with the location and had little need for amenities. To counter these difficulties. All of this causes the flight of even more homeowners.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. Many properties had so many code violations. The effect of neglected property is threefold: It results in neglect of adja cent property. When these buildings could no longer attract even poor families. they are most effective against those property owners who are already consci entious and concerned. and even then no improvements of any significance will have been made.
the most common form of tenure had the owner living in one unit and the renter in the other. plumbing. where the side-by-side rental units are in the worst state of repair.000 per duplex. The actual cost of these duplex units is not high. 54 . The most notorious city slumlord has been arrested at his office. as are furnace. This is particularly true of two-family houses. Before the decline of Five Oaks. and electric improvements. Encourage first-time homeownership. The city’s fines and the improvements required of the slumlord are put ting him out of business. The residents of Five Oaks felt that a city program that assists people in purchasing and living in the duplex units is critical to the rehabilitation of their neighborhood. The key to such a program is to couple assistance for the downpayment with funds needed to rehabilitate the unit. Such a program could also be directed at perspective purchasers of single-family houses. A subsidy for rehabilitation that is tied to a required residency of 5 to 10 years (with prorated benefits) would be most advantageous and cost effective in maintaining property values and the urban tax base. This is no longer so. the amount of the downpayment is no more than a few thousand dollars. Figure II–20: Residents making improvements to their homes after the creation of the mini-neighborhoods. and with a readily available loan. handcuffed. Another proven method for dealing with property occupied by drug deal ers is property confiscation. Absentee landlords simply do not maintain their properties. Much of the physical decline in Five Oaks is attributed to the exodus of resident homeowners. Both municipal codes and Federal laws per mit this action. This rehabilitation can lead to a cost of $10.Creating Defensible Space resulted in fines and corrections. Window and roof replacement are commonly needed repairs.000 to $20. and brought before a magistrate.
cut-through traffic was reduced by 67 percent. in Dayton overall. The city targeted the Five Oaks community with these programs immediately after the street closures went into effect. but that 36 percent felt there was no change. Dayton devised a three-point demonstration program to improve distressed properties. Ohio Because many of the purchasers of these duplexes will likely be firsttime homebuyers. Robbery. Housing values were up 15 percent in Five Oaks in the first year.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. Local banks have a Federal obli gation to participate in local rehabilitation efforts. Dayton. This would also help to ensure that the funds being invested in the program will be spent most effectively. it edu cates and provides downpayment assistance to renters who are position ing themselves to become homeowners. State. but 13 percent saw no change. but 27 percent saw no change (Dayton OMB Evaluation. and traffic accidents by 40 percent. and local programs directed at firsttime homebuyers and at rehabilitation. The university survey showed that 53 percent of residents thought there was less crime. overall traffic volume by 36 percent. and auto theft were found to be the lowest they had been in 5 years. assault. People’s investment in their homes and property 55 . and improve ment. A survey of 191 residents conducted by the Social Science Research Center of the University of Dayton showed that 73 percent of residents thought that there was less traffic. rehabilitation. 1994). The police department found that overall crime had been reduced by 26 percent and violent crime by 50 percent. ■ Evaluation of the modifications An evaluation by the city’s office of management and budget revealed that within a year of creating the mini-neighborhoods. There are various Federal. burglary. It provides funds to train existing landlords to be better managers. 62 percent said there was less noise. versus 4 percent in the region. By comparison. 45 percent felt safer. and 43 percent thought it was as safe as it had been before. and it provides interest rate buydowns and loans for home purchase. crime had increased by 1 percent. a parallel education program that teaches them how to prioritize repairs and to manage and maintain rental property is essential.
renters and homeowners. but because they did not know the neighborhood’s exact boundaries. people found that it now paid to make improve ments: They were no longer acting alone and knew they would be getting their money back when they sold the property. The positive effects 56 . had substantially increased. The University of Dayton’s survey found that 67 percent of residents thought their neighborhood was a better place to live. 1994). The owners of 75 rental build ings and 45 homeowners had applied for and received city improvement loans. and harassment were all found to be less of a problem than a year earlier (University of Dayton.2 percent. With the neighborhood changing and housing values going up. A survey found that housing requiring both major and minor repairs dropped by 45 percent. and 36 percent were more involved in the community (that is. The usual complaint about such programs. through block clubs. while 13 percent said it had remained about the same. there was no differ ence in these perceptions between African Americans and whites. There was a 55-percent increase in housing sales during this same 1-year period. The police’s explanation is that criminals and their clients knew that the residents of Five Oaks have taken control of their streets. while 53 percent said they knew as many as before. also proved untrue. theft from houses and cars. The gates can be seen at rear. they moved out of the surrounding communities as well.Creating Defensible Space Figure II–21: Renter and homeowner children playing together in a cul-de-sac street. Crime in all the communi ties immediately surrounding Five Oaks decreased by an average of 1. For the first time in many years. neighborhood watches). Most importantly. Drugs. 24 percent said it was easier to recognize strangers. houses in the neighborhood were attracting families with children. civic activities. Others had gone directly to banks or financed improvements themselves. that they displace crime into the surrounding neighborhoods. 39 percent said they knew their neighbors better.
Ohio in traffic reduction also spilled over into bordering communities as all of Five Oaks has itself become an obstacle to cut-through traffic.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. had the following to say after 2 years of observing the changes in Five Oaks: The Five Oaks neighborhood has been the subject of articles in pro fessional journals. “The bottom line is this. water. such as police. the mayor of Dayton. and safe streets and play areas. From the city’s point of view. Five Oaks is reducing its vacancies. Their children play together. television shows from The Today Show to Dateline NBC. They benefit from low crime. good schools. Turner. Other communities in Dayton are now exploring a similar restructuring. The community is perceived as being so unsafe that even white drug buyers will not go into the neighborhood. Dayton. and sewer lines goes wasted. there are fewer low-income renters per block now than in Five Oaks. power.” says Ray Reynolds. the city’s director of urban development. Its decline preceded that of Five Oaks by a few years. Nothing was done to stop it. and garbage collec tion. Its African-Ameri can. Whether this neighborhood stabilization effort served to deprive lowincome residents of future housing opportunities in Five Oaks is best answered in this way: The neighborhood to the immediate west of Five Oaks is virtually identical in physical construction. The quality of municipal services Five Oaks receives. that neighborhood now contributes very little to its tax base. and its infrastructure of streets. By comparison. is typical of that enjoyed by middle-income communities that contribute to the city’s tax base. Driving through it now. We 57 .” Michael R. snow removal. The mutual respect resulting from closer contact between the different racial and income groups has a positive effect on everyone. it would have gone the way of its neighbor to the west. So the policy of letting neighborhoods decline to create rental opportunities for low-income families proves to be a short-lived one. “if Five Oaks had not adopted its mini-neighborhood plan. low-income renters share their streets with middle-income whites. It is no longer a desirable place to live for renters or homeowners. Because of the high rates of abandonment and vacancy. one finds that every third house has either been boarded up or torn down. fire. the popular press from Newsweek to the Econo mist.
make it a comprehensive program: offer first-time homebuyers loans. and some of the problems will not have 100-percent solutions. target code enforcement efforts.000/year. and use police task forces to flush out the bad elements. and decide when and for whom the gates will be opened (for snow plowing. Put some public policy in place: Decide on how the changes to the streets will be made and paid for.). it lost 25 percent of its population since 1970 (declining from 243. Dayton is typical of many mid-sized cities in America: It has lost many of its major employers.Creating Defensible Space have hosted visitors from a dozen cities and responded to literally hundreds of requests for information. 58 .000 in 1970 to 182. This attention is a testament to the search in America for urban solutions that work.000 in 1990).000/year. Do more than close the streets. it has an average income of $22.4 percent in 1993). but also some traffic inconveniences. There are going to be a lot of benefits. 3. The lesson we learned in Dayton is that when Defensible Space con cepts are applied thoughtfully and with complete grassroots involve ment. results can make neighborhoods more livable and increase the sense of community. 4. from the Wright Brothers Flyer to the pop-top can. its unemployment rate is usu ally a couple of points above the national (9. Accept some shortcomings. If your community is considering a Defensible Space plan. The Five Oaks Neighborhood Sta bilization program is another such innovation. etc. fire and police emergencies. A high level of citizen participation is critical. It is not like you are starting from scratch on a fresh site: This is a retrofitting process. But Dayton is also a city of world-class innovation. compared with the average income in the county of $32. pay attention to the lessons we learned: 1. 2.
This does occur in some cities. but a first-time homebuyer’s program should still be made a very active parallel compo nent of the mini-neighborhood effort. and row houses (see the exposition of Defensible 59 . nor is there any incentive for them to maintain the house they live in or to care for its grounds. The percentage of single-family houses versus multifamily housing on each street is also an important factor. Where this exists. In Baltimore. There are certain conditions that must be in place and the action must involve the commu nity in a particular way to be successful. I have found that the presence of 40-percent resident homeowners may prove to be a minimum requirement. renters are normally given only 6-month to 1-year leases. Need for a minimal percentage of homeowners. Need for a predominance of single-family units. the percent of homeowners could drop to as low as 20 percent. they have often failed. and/or if there is a strong community identity among renters. The experience of the highway department initia tives in Chicago and Los Angeles are not much better. Single-family houses include all three categories: fully detached houses. For us to also expect them to be concerned about the nature of the activity in the street would be really stretching it. semidetached houses. Dayton. Ohio ■ Limits to the application of the mini-neighborhood concept The creation of mini-neighborhoods will not survive a cookie-cutter approach: The concept does not lend itself to every situation. coupled with strong social organizations. This is because in many communi ties. By closing the street it makes it easy for that family to extend its realm of concern from its front yard into the street. Existing homeownership is a critical ingredient to the success of mini-neighborhood creation. In commu nities where neighborhood people have tried the concept on their own. This does not give them time to develop a commitment to their neighborhood. for instance. This is because in single-family houses. It might be possible for this 40-percent homeowner minimum to be reduced if there is a community tradition of renters occupying their units for periods of 5 years or more. the front yard belongs to the family.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. some renters have occupied neighborhoods for a few generations and have strong commu nal and religious organizations within them.
Each of these three categories of singlefamily houses has separate entries facing the street directly off its front yard.Creating Defensible Space Space principles in chapter I). In creating mini-neighborhoods. and sports programs. Louis. They helped purchase books and supplies. This can be a time-consuming process that many cities would prefer to avoid. but a magnet school of good quality can serve the same purpose. and 30 percent of the students in these schools came from the community. Need for mini-neighborhoods to reflect people’s perceptions. Dayton’s public schools are not highly regarded. Communities in other cities may not have parochial schools. In cities where the highway departments designed the street closures without community involvement. The grounds are usually public and not associated with particular families. In some gated communities in St. It is not that easy to create mini-neighborhoods in streets composed of multifamily buildings. either through the use of parochial schools or through active participation on the part of residents in making local schools better. it is necessary to have good schools in the area. If a mini-neighborhood program is meant to attract working. The entries to these buildings serve many fami lies and are often located at the side rather than facing the street. Working with local institutions. It should be remembered that one of the appeals of inner-city minineighborhoods is the quality housing available at low cost in comparison with the suburbs. and ran special music. 60 . it is important to work closely with the institutions in the area. the results have often been pointless. It is criti cal that residents from every street participate in the planning process and define their own mini-neighborhoods. Thus residents’ adoption of the closed street as an extension of their dwellings is not second nature. where neither magnet schools nor parochial schools were in existence. But the price for that is the need to supplement the cost of local schooling. Need for quality schools.and middle-class families with children. The schools. art. parents participated actively in the local pub lic schools to improve performance. The Five Oaks community had three parochial schools operat ing within its boundaries. Residents felt that the presence of these schools was a necessary ingredient to the success of the mini-neighborhood effort.
In Dayton. and universities can be a real resource in many ways. A bit into the process. ambulances. In these situations. Race and the attitude toward mini-neighborhoods. They usually have a stronger commitment to the neighborhood than individual homeowners. However. They understood very clearly that these mechanisms would enable them to keep the local gangs under control and the drug dealers and prostitutes out. the community modified that portion of the plan and. I try to hold my community meetings in hospitals and schools and invite the principals of these institutions to attend so that they too can help shape the plan and make it theirs. The lesson again is: Everyone must participate in the planning process from beginning to end. The city then had to tear down these gates and revert to my original plan. by totally refus ing to entertain such a solution. antagonized the hospital staff. saying: What has that to do with us? African Americans in this country do have a history of being excluded.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. The most difficult communities I have found to work in are those that are about 70-percent African American that are undergoing rapid transi tion. the plan I prepared made it easy for the hospital staff. so their position is understandable. some African-American residents perceive the proposed gates as a device for either locking them in or locking them out. Where the residents of these communities were working and middle class. When I point out that some of the most expensive communities in their city and suburbs are gated. Ohio hospitals. I discovered that African-American opposition in communities undergoing transition often came from people who did not actually live in the community but were hoping to buy into it given that 61 . Most of my work in creating mini-neighborhoods has been in racially and economically mixed communities. they scoff. they are depriving themselves of a simple and effective means of making their communities safer and free of traffic. they proved to be as strong advocates of mini-neighborhoods as whites of similar incomes in predominantly white communities. but I have also worked in all-African-American communities of varying income levels. Dayton. by so doing. and patients to come and go. But after I left. They are also in a position to subsidize their staff to buy homes in the community.
They did not enjoy hearing me say: “We’re going to make this community more attractive to homeowners. drug dealers prove to be the wealthiest residents and often own the big gest houses. Instead. Criticism from resident drug dealers and others. When working in one neighborhood. It is important for a city. Wayno. are my critics from academia.Creating Defensible Space housing prices were falling. When I ask what evidence they can point to that shows that people living on open streets interact more readily. In fact. one of the things I learned to do was ask people to identify themselves and give their address in the community before they spoke. I prepared plans for the modification of a public housing project as well as for Five Oaks. which is the “American way. to target African-American and Hispanic-American communities as well as predominantly white communities for Defensible Space modifications. one is open to criticism of favorit ism from various other neighborhoods throughout a city. for that matter.” In self-defense. they have well-spoken friends give long dissertations on the evil of gates and the removal of freedom of access and association. they feel very threatened by my proposals. without also making it more expensive for some people to buy into on the other. City officials feared that if it were a predominantly white community. Needless to say. Because of this situation. their choice would have been severely criticized and implementing the modifications would have been made difficult. That put their criticism in perspective. Grandin. they boo me. In this way it cannot be said that the city’s security programs are being directed only at middleincome families. one cannot stabilize a neighborhood for homeowners and increase property values on the one hand. therefore. 62 . and housing prices are going to jump by 20 to 30 percent. but they will rarely get up and talk for themselves.” When I reply that my experience has shown that mini-neighborhoods actually serve to bring people out of hiding and encourage them to interact with each other. (So. they did not want a program that would interrupt the trend. or interact across the urban spectrum. they are silent. In some communities. But in truth. I was told that Five Oaks was selected to be the first test of the mini-neighborhood concept in Dayton just because it was 50/50 African American and white. Louis compared closed streets with open streets and found a significant difference in residents’ knowledge of their neighbors (Newman.) Our study in St. 1974). In Dayton.
In some communities. Let me hasten to say though that not everyone objecting to mini-neighborhoods on philo sophical grounds is either a drug dealer or slumlord. my crit ics from academia are not. they literally run the community and are strong con tributors to the local economy. Certainly. they are right not to support the concept. concerned residents will also stand up and say. including public housing projects. Ohio The police can be very useful in helping one learn about the relationship of community critics with drug dealers and slumlords. These gates are just going to enable them to further assert their control. oblivious to the fact that these same drug dealers have hooked resident teenagers on drugs and turned some of them into prostitutes. Drug dealers run this place. drug dealers are so omnipresent. But if they feel that the neighborhood is no longer theirs.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. I have seen collegeeducated women at meetings speak of drug dealers as a financial boon to the community. Dayton. In such communities. 63 . “You don’t understand the situation here. Mini-neighborhoods only work where the people who do not want crime feel that they are the majority and that this mechanism will give them the control of their neighborhood they seek.” That assessment may be correct: Mini-neighborhoods may not work there. They provide young children with jobs as runners and subsidize the rents of seniors for the use of their apartments in which to hide their stash or to manufacture drugs.
65 . in their successful efforts in improving the grounds around their own homes. Actually. Few have ever had the opportunity of identifying the land outside their home as their own. most authorities assume that their residents are inadequate to the task and accept the notion of their dependency. but as an exten sion of their own private lawns. many of these projects prevent residents from controlling the spaces outside their homes because the units were so poorly positioned on their grounds.. I wanted to learn whether residents would adopt these areas as their own and assume responsibility for maintaining and securing them. Finally. have a significant number of row-house developments. My second interest in this experiment was to provide low-income residents. public hous ing for families with children was primarily built as row houses.CHAPTER The Clason Point Experiment THREE Row-house communities account for one-fifth of all public housing in the United States. D. but rather than adopt a policy of guiding residents toward the assumption of responsibility. under their sphere of influence and scrutiny. with living testament to the success and permanence of their individual efforts. and in smaller cities like Indianapolis. and Oklahoma City. and. and Washington. I had even greater hopes that after this reassignment of grounds. residents would look out their windows and see the public street. Fort Worth. San Francisco. this was a good first step because developers created housing with no interior public spaces. I became interested in testing this basic assumption early in my Defensible Space work and looked for the opportunity of dividing up and assigning the previously public grounds of a housing project to individual residents. therefore. Many medium-size cities like Philadelphia. not as a distant environment. Most residents come to public housing with no previous experience of maintain ing a home of their own. However. I hoped that this success would change the attitudes of housing management about resi dents’ ability to affect change and take control. From a Defen sible Space point of view.C. Housing management knows this history.
This was because they had made a recent decision to tear it down and build highrises on the site. given to me. Figure III–1: Clason Point as seen from street.S. the authority changed its mind and withdrew its support. The management of the New York City Housing Authority used to say that I knew exactly how hard the floors of their building were from hav ing been bounced off them so many times. I say. Clason Point is a 400-unit pub lic housing project located in the South Bronx. Department of Justice. I begged and pleaded. It consists of 46 buildings that mostly contain row houses. Note the overflowing garbage dumpster at left. a compara tively high-crime area of the city of New York. Although I have modified many row-house projects since Clason Point—and many have proven even more successful—I chose to use Clason Point here. this is a dense project by rowhouse standards. but it took a great deal of convincing. because it was an important first step. Smaller walkup units for seniors are located at the ends of some buildings. before modifications.Creating Defensible Space The opportunity to radically redesign the grounds of a row-house project and to reassign it to residents was given me by the New York City Housing Authority in 1969. as the example of this kind of work. I finally had to go to our research sponsor. The housing authority acquiesced. After I had prepared the plans for the modification of the project. and I am endlessly grateful to them. the U. 66 . to ask them to intervene on our behalf.15 spaces per unit. but to no avail. and there were many things I did wrong that are worth pointing out. At 25 units per acre. For what would have been the impact of my first Defensible Space writings without Clason Point? I tell this story only to prepare those who would follow me for the struggles they face. Such a high density was achieved by limiting off-street parking to 0.
and they felt they had no right to question strangers as a means of anticipating and preventing crimes. 67 . the housing authority kept it run ning until 1969. which is when I first learned about it. The project bore the stigma of public housing. One had the impression that intrusion by strangers would go unchallenged. It was constructed of exposed ce ment block in an army barracks fashion. Most residents drew the same kind of map. I asked them to draw maps of those areas they thought most dangerous. and public housing meant that it was owned by the public and residents’ rights were confined to the interior of their units. Although it was supposed to have been torn down after the war. Interviews I conducted with residents revealed that they were fearful of being victimized by criminals. they had severely changed or cur- tailed their patterns of activity as a result of the new presence of gangs and drug dealers. Teenagers from surrounding streets used the grounds as a congregation area. The project was then suffer ing a 30-percent vacancy rate because of its rundown condition.Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment The project was built as munitions workers’ housing during World War II when few people had cars. Intergenerational and interracial conflict was common on the undefined public grounds. 29 percent by African-American families. Figure III–2: Interior grounds of Clason Point before modifications. and 24 percent by Puerto Rican families. both during the day and in the evening. instilling fear and anger in many Clason Point residents. Everyone also declared the public open space in the center of the project as the most dangerous. The only area they thought safe was the one immediately around their home. unkempt grounds and the un finished. cement block buildings made it stand out against the surround ing streets of privately owned. Thirty-two percent of the project was occupied by elderly whites. Its open. red-brick row houses. To better understand how residents perceived the project.
and these would be widened to allow them to be used for play and sitting areas. I hoped we could stretch these dollars significantly to change the look and function of the entire project. and adding a little play equipment. The physical modifications I planned for Clason Point had these goals: ■ To increase the proprietary feelings of residents by subdividing and assigning much of the public grounds to the control of individual families and small groupings of families through the use of real and symbolic fencing. It was slated for adding a stucco surface to the cement block to reduce penetration of cold air.Creating Defensible Space The housing authority had a small mod ernization budget available for improving the project. Only those walks that passed in front of the units would remain in use. ■ To reduce the number of pedestrian routes throughout the project so as to limit access and to intensify the use of the remaining walks. 68 . New lighting would be added to improve visibility and to extend the use of the walks into the evening. ■ To intensify tenants’ surveillance of the grounds by giving them a greater identification with the grounds. Figure III-3: Composite of fear maps produced by residents. ■ To improve the image of the project by resurfacing the exterior of the existing cement-block building and by further identifying indi vidual units through the use of varying colors and resurfacing materials. ■ To reduce intergenerational conflict among residents within the project by assigning specific areas for each group to use. replacing the roofing and boilers.
Figure III–4: Six-foot-high tubular steel fencing defines the collective rear yards of residents. 69 . served to redefine an additional 30 percent of the public grounds as private front lawn. To improve the usefulness of pedestrian walks and to attract residents to them. It should be noted that both the fencing and curbing only defined collec tive areas.Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment ■ Redefinition of grounds Using 6-foot-high fencing that looked like iron. placed adjacent to the public walk in front of the units. but was actually inexpensive hollow tubular steel. This new. and planter helps residents use and identify with the central walk. I designed a combination planter-seating- lighting element that would be placed in the center of the walk at inter vals of about 40 feet. The lighting also improved residents’ surveillance potential and resulting feelings of security. The number of families grouped in each rear yard cluster was determined by the existing layout of buildings. A new combination lighting. decorative lighting served both to high- light the main public walk and to make the benches usable at night. Figure III–5: Collective front yards are defined by the new concrete curbing. These were symbolic barriers. I created real barriers to define and secure the rear yard areas. If residents desired to further define the boundaries of their own front or rear yards. The low concrete curbing. Most of the residents chose to do so after the first year. not individual front or rear yards. seating. The 6-foot fence defined 50 percent of the previously public grounds located at the rear of the units for the private use of individual families. The clusters ranged from as few as 12 dwellings per cluster to as many as 40. they had to install their own individual side fencing. allowing them to place picnic tables and other outdoor furnishings there for the first time.
These materials are an unflattering reflection of the residents. Housing authorities sometimes get into an escalating spiral by advocating vandalresistant products. I argued that the residents would take pride in the new fixtures with their spherical glass globes and would not want to vandalize them. one expects to see them in prisons. Of course. Figure III–7: Small play nodes—as little as a basketball hoop and an adjacent bench—are located to serve small clusters of residents. and therefore too vulnerable to vandalism. As an example. These had plastic covers that could withstand being hit by stones. They had never allowed themselves to use anything like it before. the housing authority embarks on a new search to find even more 70 . Their rule was to provide highway-type lighting fixtures that were so high they could not be easily reached. The hous ing authority again acquiesced—against their better judgment—but the new fixtures looked glorious at night. they invite vandalism. once they are vandal ized. domestic scale lighting that showed the way to the front doors of the units. These products are so institutional looking. They are so demeaning.Creating Defensible Space Figure III–6: Vandalized tiles and mailboxes in a highrise. They provided a row of soft. I cite the large yellow tiles that are commonly used in corridors (figure III–6). They found my lights too low and too delicate. The new lighting was not vandalized. A small battle ensued with the housing authority about the decorative lighting.
This became an event out of all proportion to its significance. and commitment to. Figure III–8: Wall of samples showing residents the range of wall surfaces and colors available to choose from for their units. The quality of the fixtures reflected on the residents.Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment vandal-resistant. I broke out of that cycle by saying. At Clason Point. This was exactly the kind of involvement with. I opted for a slightly more expensive resur facing treatment that would make the stucco look like brick and stonework. The residents did not want to see them vandalized. Entire families came out together to stand before the sample wall to debate among themselves and with their neighbors what colors would be best for the units in their row house. I put benches next to these play areas to allow other children and adults to sit and watch the play activity. I hoped that resident involvement in the process would increase their sense of individuality and proprietorship and that this would not only result in greater care and maintenance but in increased watchfulness and greater potency in dealing with gangs and drug dealers. I had the contractor put up a wall of samples and let individual tenants come and select their own colors. 71 . and rather than choose the color combinations myself. the improve ments I was looking for. that the residents were special. uglier materials to replace them. as most architects would insist on doing. with my fixtures. I created play nodes for young children and teenagers. ■ Resurfacing of buildings As part of the effort to remove the public housing image of Clason Point. and inevitably. This finish could be applied in a range of different colors. They evoked pride and care. At selected intersections along the primary paths.
By peopling it with young children. but because the ground was uneven. they claimed. tenants identified the central area as the most dangerous part of the project. play equipment. I found that the area was also used by teenagers.Creating Defensible Space Figure III–9: The central area at Clason Point before modifications. of both sexes. 72 . I felt the residents could expunge the drug dealers. and the elderly. who congregated in one corner of the square after school. I thought I could turn it into a heavily travelled. intensive ball playing was difficult. and seating I had provided elsewhere. As Clason Point was almost devoid of play and sitting areas. This area was identified by residents and police as the most dangerous of the project. parents. and inviting area by treating it with the same lighting. I decided to transform this no-man’s land into an intensive community recreation area for all age groups. well congregated. teenagers. Younger chil dren would occasionally throw a ball around here. On further obser vation. where neighborhood addicts came to meet connec tions. was where pushers congregated. ■ Redevelopment of the central area In the premodification interviews. This. and where one was sure to be mugged at night. Because this central area was also located at the intersection of a few of the newly created walks.
Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment
As the area was to serve three different age groups, I tried to create three zones that would each have a different look and character. I designed the area for the elderly in a conservative, orderly, and restrained manner. In contrast, the teenage area was designed using curvilinear patterns, intense colors, and large bold rocks. These two areas, representing the
prime contenders at any
housing project, were separated by a large, defined central play area for
I had hoped that all this activ
ity would transform this dor-
mant and frightening area into the most alive and safe area of the entire project—that it would become the new focus of Clason Point. I had hoped, too, that my first step in defining the collective front and rear ground areas would encourage residents to further define them into their own individual yards. Would they see the opportunity to
install their own side fences and plant grass and shrubs? The housing
authority certainly had no intention of doing that. As it was, they saw the
new curbs and fencing as barriers to their large mowers.
Figure III–10: Plan for the conversion of the central area into a facility serving, from left to right, the elderly, young children, and teens.
Figure III–11: The central area as modified. Note that the extended front yards of neighboring homes now border the central area, bringing more under residents’ control.
Creating Defensible Space
I anticipated that once residents realized that no one else had access to these areas, they would begin to place their own things in them. This would make them possessive of them, and they would begin to take care of and guard over them. This proved to be the case.
Figure III–12: Revised plan of Clason Point showing 90 percent of the grounds assigned to individual families.
But I also created areas requiring joint maintenance that were assigned to groups of 8 to 12 families. These had little to no success. They were only cared for when one adjacent family took it upon itself to do so. If that area was then misused by another adjacent family, the family that was taking care of it abandoned their effort. The lesson here is: Try to subdivide all the grounds and assign every scrap of it to individual families. The reassignment of public grounds was undertaken with the intention of expanding the domain that residents felt they controlled and in which they felt they had the right to expect accountability from strangers. I theorized that this reassignment would lead residents to watch the users of the grounds and walks more carefully and to set up in their own minds expectations about what kind of behavior would be acceptable in these areas. As a psychologist on my staff put it, “This reorganization of grounds will set up a dependent relationship between spatial organization and social expectations, and we should find that the informal expectations on the part of residents will become more exacting and differentiated. By elimi nating the functionless no-man’s land that no resident can control, we should also reduce crime and fear of crime. Tenants should feel they now had the right to impose social controls and pressures on strangers and neighbors.” I could not have put it better myself.
■ Effectiveness of the modifications
The first year after the modifications took place at Clason Point, the resi dents raked the topsoil of the grounds in front of their homes and planted the grass seed that was made available to them by the housing authority.
Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment
To the surprise of many resi dents, the grass came up in abundance, and the ground surface changed from packed dirt to a carpet of green. Residents then began to demarcate their own front and rear yards by putting up smaller, intervening fences— in many instances, the better to distinguish their patch of success from their neighbors’ inadequate efforts. Not to be outdone, unsuccessful residents plowed up the hard ground
once again, added mulch which was again made available by the hous
ing authority, and reseeded more carefully. In fact, they had acquired the
knack of putting in seed,
watering, and fertilizing by
watching their successful
neighbors do it. To the
delight of those residents
new to gardening, the grass
came up by itself in the
spring of the second year and
was even more lush than the
year before. This prompted
residents to invest in small
shrubs, trees, flowers, and
Now there may be those who
will wonder at what I have just described and, perhaps, take offense at it.
Was this whole effort no more than a gardening course for public hous
ing residents? I have even been accused of implying that low-income
African Americans don’t know how to grow grass. The whole exercise,
of course, has nothing to do with gardening; it has to do with providing
Figure III–13: View of internal walk at Clason Point before modifications.
Figure III–14: View of the same internal walk as in figure III–13 after modifications and residents’ response with planting and further demarcation.
The bottom line is that by subdividing and assigning all the previ ously public grounds to individual families. the small shrubs had grown a few feet and the perennial flowers had expanded their root system and come up in abundance. which was largely neglected. residents began to sweep the public sidewalks in front of their homes. particularly when it appeared as if the authority’s maintenance staff were derelict in their duties. The staff complained that the new curbing. Residents had begun to see the public sidewalks as an extension of their dwellings. fencing. Residents now began to expand their concerns beyond their own front yard to the public sidewalks and concrete planter in the center of the walk. The original layout provided no grounds in the front of units for individual residents.Creating Defensible Space BEFORE people with the opportu nity of taking control of the space and activities outside their dwellings. We had anticipated that the residents’ new assumption of grounds care would meet with a positive response from the housing authority mainte nance staff because it would decrease their workload. The opposite was the case. too AFTER Figure III–15: Before and after photographs of an area of Clason Point. with giving them an environment to live in that enhances their self-image and evokes pride. In the third year after the modifications. and finally to allow them the opportunity to themselves improve their space so that their identity with it is re inforced. A play node is shown at front left. In our site redesign. we have removed it from the gangs and drug dealers. 76 . On a systematic basis. was removed and residents were given their own front yards. and concrete planters prevented them from using their power equipment. the central green area. which they quickly improved.
in turn. The premodification monthly average overall crime rate at Clason Point was 6.16 crimes per 1. however. Residents responded by cleaning up some of the sidewalks and dumpster areas themselves.95 per 1. The response of the grounds staff was to slow down their performance and allow garbage and litter to accumulate in the public walks and at the garbage dumpsters. for fear of antagonizing the union.000 residents. The supervisor. a 28 percent change. Figure III–16: The 6-foot fencing that defined the collective rear yards stimulated individual residents to further define their own individual rear yards. the grounds staff could be cut back. We were informed of his request by an anxious director of housing management who had also hoped that the grounds modifications would reduce their workload. This decision was not implemented immediately.000 to 0. This removed much of the overall grounds of the project from access by criminals and gangs. the project’s grounds maintenance staff was cut in half and the extra men moved to a neighboring project.71.91 crimes per 1. It also limited the movement of those criminals who lived within a rear yard cluster. The average monthly burglary rate per year dropped from 5. redirected his staff’s activity toward the maintenance of the public walks and play facilities. The slowdown by grounds maintenance person nel continued for 6 months and was finally resolved when the housing authority replaced the grounds staff supervisor with one who felt comfortable with a policy that allowed residents to care for the grounds themselves. 77 .15 per 1. the central office concluded that. the grounds supervisor at Clason Point put in for additional manpower to handle his new workload. A few months after the completion of the modifications.000 residents to 3.000 residents and the postmodification average was 3. The overall crime rate in the development (including breach of housing authority rules) dropped by 54 percent in the first year. The average monthly robbery rate dropped from 1. if anything. for the first time in the history of the project.Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment much work would now have to be done by hand. I suggested a site visit. Following a site visit. The following year.
for the first time in years. and the easier it is for people to agree on mutually acceptable rules for using it. The number of felonies during evening and nighttime hours decreased by more than one-half. For the serious crime categories—burglary. Whether to save the cost of a fence or from oversight.000 to 0. it acquired a waiting list of hundreds of applicants. This soon resulted in the vandalizing of equipment by the distant residents who. The project. not only achieved full occupancy. at times. children. and thus cut them in two.Creating Defensible Space The average monthly assault rate dropped from 0. and assault—the average crime rate was reduced by 61. 78 . The percentage of people who felt they had a right to question strangers on the project grounds increased from 27 to 50 percent.5 percent. I had forgotten my own basic rule: the smaller the number of families that share an area. the large size of the area also pro duced turf conflict between the residents living immediately adjacent to it and those coming from the other end of the project. most residents said they had little fear of walking through the project grounds at night. I could have subdivided the larger clus ters simply by running a 6-foot fence across them. The most successful play and recreation areas proved to be the small nodes I provided to serve a small and distinct group of residents. Had I realized how much variation would oc cur with the size of the cluster. which was 30 percent vacant before the modifications. Residents’ fear of crime was reduced even more dramatically than the actual crime rates and. ■ Learning from experience Perhaps the most serious mistake I made was allowing the existing arrangement of buildings to determine the size of the collective rear yard groupings. and the elderly—and they did succeed in driving out the drug dealers. There was also more uniformity in the quality of maintenance of rear yards in the smaller clusters than in the larger.53 per 1. The large central play area initially attracted a large population from all over the project—adults. robbery. a 42 percent change. the greater the felt responsibility for maintaining and securing it. Residents in the larger groupings had difficulty keeping the gates to their collective rear yard area locked.31. However.
and elderly. If they could not use it. It was also a mistake to try to create three zones within the one area to serve teenagers. than to group all 10 pieces in 1 central public area for the use of all residents. it is better to put 1 piece of equipment in each of 10 areas so that it is there for the specific use of a particular group of residents. even in the area specifically designed for them: that is. The lesson to be learned from this is that if one has the opportunity of placing 10 pieces of play equipment in a housing development.Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment felt excluded. young children. the one containing the formally designed checker tables and benches. The elderly soon found themselves overwhelmed and threatened by teenagers. no one would. 79 . Note how the new 6-foot fencing has prompted residents to produce gardens in their rear yards at left and the new curbing to create their own front yards. Figure III–18: Aerial view of a small portion of Clason Point showing how 6-foot fencing was installed to create collective rear yards and curbing to define front yards. Note the location of the play node serving a small cluster of families. Figure III–17: Play node for young children: a sandbox and a climber located to serve a small cluster of families.
or four times as many.CHAPTER FOUR Dispersed. The existing public housing projects had been built as large. the city of Yonkers. 81 . ranging in size from 278 units to 550 units. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers In 1985. Figure IV–1: Map of Yonkers showing the concentration of public and assisted housing in downtown southwest Yonkers and the location of the seven new scattered-site projects. producing a very high overall concentration of low-income. minority population. high-density highrises and walkups. no more than a token really. Twenty thousand people lived in this housing. the remaining seven-eighths of the city housed only 80. Some 6.000 people. was found guilty by the Federal court (Southern District of New York) of severely segregating its public and assisted hous ing. in a nationally prominent civil rights case. The remedy.000 units had been concentrated into the city’s older. They were located only a few blocks away from each other. southwest sec tion—an area one-eighth the size of the entire city. middle-class areas of the city that had previously excluded public housing. required that 200 new units be built in the white.
Also shown is the location of the Clason Point project in the south Bronx.Creating Defensible Space After stalling for much too long. The entire city is only 6 miles long by 3 miles wide and is interlaced with highways serving the suburbs to the north. situated on the cliffs over the Hudson River. It dates from the turn of the century when it functioned as a factory town. During the period of the court case. is where the public housing was concentrated. urban downtown.and middle-class families. This urban core is surrounded by a mix of suburban areas ranging from modest singlefamily houses on small lots to large mansions on one-half-acre lots. the city was told to appoint an outsider to direct the construction of the mandated housing. The projects were also said to be the cause of much of the crime in their surrounding communi ties. were known for housing drug dealers and prosti tutes. like many throughout the country. Sprinkled along these highways are stretches of old and new. and used the occasion to apply the principles I had evolved in the Clason Point project to the construction of the housing. Many of the criminals who lived in the projects were little more than children. 82 . Teenagers carried automatic weapons openly and were often bold enough to screen people who came and went to make sure they were not police. I was selected in a process I will describe shortly. Figure IV–2: Existing public housing in Yonkers: the School Street project. Its older. Yonkers’ public housing projects. privately owned highrise apartments occupied by white working. Figure IV–3: Map showing the location of Yonkers relative to New York City. Yonkers is the first suburb one encounters driving north from New York City.
African. Figure IV–5: Existing public housing in Yonkers: the Schlobohm project. Yonkers residents are a mix ture of ethnic and religious groups: Irish. Each ethnic group further reinforced its identity and political strength by concentrating itself in its own distinctive geopolitical ward. ethnic restaurants. food stores. It is a solution that is already becoming a model for cities across the country who wish either to voluntarily desegre gate their public housing or are under court order to do so. more than half would have public assistance as their source of income. Jewish. most of these being AFDC families. After a 6-year trial and an additional 7 years of the city fighting me every step of the way. social centers.Chapter Four: Dispersed. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers The public housing residents who were to move into these 200 new units were to have the same profile as the exist ing residents—that is. This has produced a rich and exciting city with a multitude of churches. and bars. and it did not produce white flight. In Figure IV–4: Aerial view of east Yonkers showing typical suburban housing and the Catholic seminary. The residents of the new housing were to be chosen by lottery on a 50/50 basis from existing public hous ing tenants who wished to move into the new housing and from a waiting list of potential tenants. it did not reduce property values. It did not intro duce crime into the middle- class neighborhoods. Polish. Italian. 83 . the scattered-site housing is now in place without any of the dire consequences predicted by its opponents. The dense public housing of southwest Yonkers can be seen at the back. and Hispanic Americans—each of whom wears their heritage proudly.
saying that this would be a replication of the physical construct of the existing public housing projects in southwest Yonkers and would serve to destabilize the sur rounding neighborhoods. Justice Department and the Yonkers chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)) had identified two former school sites they wanted used for the public hous ing. under a deadline from the court. At that point.Creating Defensible Space the past. 84 . the plaintiffs petitioned the court to inform the city that if it could not act on its own behalf to implement the remedy. finally. this ward structure had proven useful in serving the narrow interests of each ethnic group. the city. Prior to my appointment as housing advisor. Much of the city’s resistance to implementing the 200-unit remedy stemmed from everyone’s assumption that it would be built along the lines of the existing public housing. The city objected. set about finding a housing advisor. find the sites and prepare the plans for the housing. However. Admitting.S. They gave me the job. it proved devastating by prevent ing the city as a whole from acting in its greater good by quickly responding to the original segregation complaint. but not for reasons I cared for. Figure IV–6: Existing public housing in Yonkers: Mulford Gardens. and they did not care for the city’s notion of what constituted destabilization. The plaintiffs replied that this was further evidence of the city’s racism. the plaintiffs in the case (the U. Two years after the Federal court decision was issued. the city had yet to locate a single site or prepare a single housing plan. that it would be political or professional suicide for anyone to do this work. it would either face costly daily fines or be required to appoint an outside housing advisor to do the work that no politicians or city employees could allow themselves to do—that is. A highrise complex was to be put on the larger of the two sites and a three-story walkup on the other.
and ordered the city to pay me on threat of contempt. the mayor and the city council chose me to do the work because in my plan ning books. because in my interviews. After three months of non-payment. I had thought that this was why I was selected. Figure IV–7: Typical site plan for a 12-unit site. what would be the long-term benefits to the pub lic housing residents? In my interviews with the city I had stated that. I had argued.Chapter Four: Dispersed. I also felt obligated to ensure that it would. of course. the Federal court decided that I would henceforth work for the court rather than the city. be built. in fact. the city countered by refusing to pay me. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers After interviewing a dozen candidates. When it became clear that I was making progress in selecting sites and getting the housing built as promised. middle-class areas of the city rather than concentrate them in one or two specific sites as was proposed by the plaintiffs. I had advocated an approach to racial and economic integra tion that would not destabilize the host middle-income com munity. I would advocate the use of townhouses in a scattered-site for- mat. This delusion on the part of the city was surprising. on the basis of my past research. but I later learned that the city was secretly hoping that once I became familiar with the crime pro blems in the existing public housing complexes in southwest Yonkers and then saw the pastoral beauty of the middle-class suburban settings of the rest of Yonkers. That is. I would scatter the units throughout the white. I would appeal to the court to modify its ruling. Otherwise. This was. not facing reality—a problem that plagued Yonkers from the beginning of these proceedings. Defensible Space and Community of Interest. I had made clear that although I would ensure that the housing would be built using Defensible Space principles. 85 .
I had hoped to limit the number of units at any 1 site to a maximum of 24. As it was. Most of these sites were owned by the city. During the heyday of its defiance. State. This enabled me to identify all city. I used a variety of techniques to tease out new sites: I reviewed the city’s annual report to the State listing all tax exempt property. enabling me to avoid the purchase price and the delay of acquiring the land from private owners. Private land is scarce and expensive in the middle-class areas of Yonkers. I examined listings of all State. I also planned to design the housing to look like that of the surrounding community so as to make it unnoticeable. With these techniques. and the city rejected those that lay within the domain of the most vociferous and demonstrative of opponent groups. and county park land to determine which parks were not being used. city. The city had said it could not implement the remedy because there were no sites available. such as schools—that might be used for housing. I used aerial photographs to lo cate all empty parcels and then flew over the entire city with a helicopter to view them for suitability. the Save Yonkers Federation. 86 . and Federal owned land and buildings—including empty buildings.Creating Defensible Space ■ Design principles By locating the 200 public housing units on 7 sites in Yonkers. I was able to locate more than 20 sites that were suitable for the remedy. This decision came out of my research that showed that crime increased with the number of units in a housing project. with the hope that someone would succeed in defying the court. But the court made the error of allowing the city to reject some of my sites. This was because no politician felt he would survive re-election if he defied this group. a different mayor was elected every 2 years during this period. the city went so far as to elect a mayor because he had promised to hire the Figure IV–8: Typical site plan for a 24-unit site.
the city preferred that I choose a few large. fewer areas would be con taminated by the contact. I finally had to say: “Hold it a second. They could not understand my argument: the smaller the site and the greater the contact. I was also worried that their isola tion from surrounding middle-class housing would allow a criminal subculture to materialize and flourish that the public housing residents. I returned to the microphone and. Strangely. isolated sites rather than many. But more importantly. raised my fist. I explained that I was there to implement the remedy in the best way I could. and was seeking the community’s assistance in doing so. the more the middle-class neighbors would be able to exert their values and control.Chapter Four: Dispersed. This led to requests for me to give formal presentations to general meetings of a few hundred resi dents. The city spent more on attorneys’ fees to stop the housing than I spent on building it—more than $20 million. I was forced to put as many as 48 units on 1 site and 44 on another. holding my 87 . but many were quite civil and allowed for a good exchange of ideas. could not control. I was left with only seven sites. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers most expensive lawyers available and to lie down in front of the bulldozers himself to stop the housing from being constructed. The noise from the pounding thundered through the auditorium. even to the point of putting undue pressure on the Cardinal of New York to get him to back down from a site I had selected on an outlying portion of the seminary property. Look!” I walked over to the nearest wall bordering the auditorium stage. At one meeting. He was not re-elected. I would not be able to make them disappear into the fabric of the city’s neighborhoods. feelings ran so high. That way. Their comparatively large size meant that these two sites would have to have their own internal street systems. In the end. And because of this. Some of these meetings were rowdy. and pounded it three times as hard as I could. The city was nevertheless successful in rejecting many of my sites. alone. small sites that were integrated into the community. But many residents attempted to re-argue the court case in front of me. I systematically met with community and religious leaders in every affected neighborhood of Yonkers. I told them the case could not be reopened. In an endeavor to win communities over to the scattered-site plan I was advocating. People went totally silent. argued the city. at increased cost. The mayor put on a good show but succeeded in stopping nothing.
All you are doing with your high-priced lawyers in revisiting the case. This is why I chose two-story row houses as our building type rather than two-story walkups that have interior public areas. The grounds of each site were to be fully subdivided and assigned to individual units. said: “That wall is the Justice Department. private use of individual fami lies. Each family was to have its own front and rear yard.” I do not know how useful these meetings were. It is time to let it go and help me find a rem edy that will work to everyone’s benefit. Figure IV–10: Sketch of a group of rowhouse units for Yonkers as submitted by one of the developers. This decision in volved a major dispute with the regional office of HUD that advocated the use of walkups. And this fist is you. is injur ing yourselves. In some instances.Creating Defensible Space hand in the air with obvious pain. the vociferous ele ments in the city made it a practice to come and disrupt every such community meeting. if not highrises. and the front entry to each unit was to be located directly off the street. After a while. the police had to escort me out for my own protection. I stopped holding them. All areas of each unit and site would be assigned for the specific. 88 . Figure IV–9: Typical site plan for a 48-unit site. The second Defensible Space design directive I used was to insist that the housing have no indoor or outdoor areas that were public.
they would begin to customize and manicure the yards. “They look like pig sties. crime-ridden areas typical of multifamily public housing projects. he looked at the fenced-off rear yards and said.Chapter Four: Dispersed. Developing this principle further. I decided to do away with the collec tive garbage dumpsters that normally serve large groups of residents in Figure IV–11: The fencing-off of the rear yards in the Yonkers scattered-site housing. It is interesting that when the judge I was working for visited the housing when it was completed. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers Each family’s rear yard was to be defined by a small fence. residents would have a place immediately outside their dwellings they could call their own: their own place in the sun where they could leave a young child to play by itself without fear of it being harmed. There were none of the spaces that typically charac terized not only highrise public housing. 6- foot fence. The 6-foot fences defining the collective rear yard area can be seen in the foreground and at rear. of course. Individual yard fences are 3 feet high. Once they realized that. but not yet occupied. shook his head and said. The second principle is that by dividing and assigning spaces to individual families and to small collectives of families. is it really necessary to have the fencing?” I explained that the rear yards would take on a very different character once they were occupied. “I hope you know what you’re doing. I primarily hoped to eliminate all the troublesome. And they would become rich with flowers and objects that reflected their personalities. and small clusters of rear yards were to be collectively fenced-off from the surrounding streets by a taller. no fire stairs. The principle used throughout is that residents will jealously guard and maintain that which is theirs—even when they are renters rather than owners. For the first time in their lives. There were no nebulous public grounds for gangs and drug dealers to roam. 89 .” With this design. The judge looked at the myriad of fencing again. we limit the operat ing turf of the criminal element that may be living among the residents. but row-house developments as well (see discussion of Defensible Space concepts in chapter I). no corridors. There were to be no public lobbies. no elevators.
That way the gar bage cans too would be within the territorial domain of each family. But as with most of my design decisions in Yonkers. I pointed out that we were asking no more for the public residents than the city provided to occupants of singlefamily houses. Every family would have its own garbage cans. These would be replaced with indi vidual garbage cans. I simply refused to allow them to exist. that individual cans buried in concrete sleeves for each Figure IV–13: Individual garbage cans along the walks leading up to each unit in Yonkers’ scattered sites. and they would be placed in concrete pits in the ground along the front walks leading up to the entry door to their own house. The HUD regional office objected to our garbage can decision on two counts: one. Various stratagems have been devised to make them function better. and their maintenance would reflect on that family. public housing projects. The city objected vehe mently that this would put an undue strain on its sanitation department. I have explained the garbage can decision as if it were made by me. serving each unit. but in the scattered-site housing in Yonkers. everyone became involved and there was a big hullabaloo about it. They are always overflowing with garbage and attract rats and roaches. The city backed down after it was agreed that each family would be respon sible for bringing its garbage to the curb on the morning of garbage day.Creating Defensible Space Figure IV-12 Typical garbage dumpster serving public housing. The large dumpsters that serve as garbage col lectors for most public housing projects are located in public areas where no one identifies with them. alone at my desk. 90 .
(2) it would compromise the secu rity of the rear yard areas by introducing gates that opened to the public streets (we had learned from our Clason Point experiment that it took only one family to decide to leave this gate open for everyone’s security to be affected). A collective place would then be provided at the street for all the garbage cans to be positioned for pick up by the garbage trucks. and go with what I had proposed. and replaced by dumpsters. at great cost. I accepted that. HUD argued that these individual cans would have to be pulled out eventually. appreciating that these are the risks one must take to test the value of one’s convictions. they would have to be brought through the house on gar bage day. the housing authority director and my salvation in this entire effort. but because we were gambling on the validity of the Defensible Space hypothesis. I explained that this proposed solution introduced three problems: (1) it meant introducing a public walk into the rear yard areas which were now fully private. and (3) having all the garbage cans grouped in a desig nated “public” spot. that the residents would be unable to look after their own gar bage cans. 91 . The operating rule was no public spaces. This dispute was settled by Pete Smith. and two. and we would have to stick by it. He suggested that maybe the individual garbage cans could be stored in the back yards of the unit and then brought out on garbage day. even if only on garbage day. would be creating the same kind of problem produced by dumpsters. This was his polite way of also saying that it would be on my head if it went wrong. furthermore.Chapter Four: Dispersed. bay windows. we should be consistent throughout. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers household would be far costlier than providing a collective dumpster. But to do this meant that the gar bage cans would have to be stored in the already small rear yards. and. The housing authority architect suggested that we could avoid the latter by providing a walk between the individual rear yards that led to a gate that opened onto the street. The housing authority’s consulting architect was also nervous about my placing the garbage cans along the front walks. I went on to spell out that the design of each unit was to carefully echo the style and materials of the surrounding middle-class single-family houses. and staggered facades were to be used to emphasize the individual units within a row-house cluster. He said that he saw potential prob lems with each proposal. Brick. peaked roofs.
Figure IV–14: Completed scattered-site units in Yonkers (foreground). it is normal practice for housing authorities to tell communities that they will only be putting up a small number of units. singlefamily housing can be seen in the background. The new units seek to capture the look and feel of the private housing. It is not that housing authorities. had promised to build row houses on small sites scattered throughout the city. the community did not believe me. Much of the reason the Yonkers community bitterly resisted the court order was their expectation that the new housing would be large. The housing units arrived 95 percent complete from factories approximately 100 miles away and were placed on foundations (that had been prepared earlier) during the course of a day. but the process of getting these decisions accepted by HUD and the plaintiffs proved difficult.Creating Defensible Space All of this was accomplished within HUD’s cost guidelines by using factory-built housing. The use of factory-built housing minimized onsite protests and potential vandalism by oppo nents of the housing by limiting the onsite construction time. highrise developments that would devastate their surrounding areas. to use row houses rather than highrises or walkups. The ability of the local residents and politi cians to complicate construction by influencing the unions was also minimized by having most of the work done in communities distant from Yonkers. When trying to obtain housing sites. But once a site is acquired and approved for the use of public housing—a difficult process in itself—the number of units somehow doubles or quadruples. or 92 . privately owned. and to use Defensible Space principles in laying out the grounds may sound rational. My promise might be sincere. Existing. as an officer of the Federal court. given the history of the case. but neither HUD nor the housing authority was able to inspire much trust among the local residents. ■ Problems in controlling the design process The decisions to scatter the 200 units over 7 sites rather than concentrate them on 2. Even though I.
The HUD regional Office in New York City. When management is then unable to attract new market-rate tenants to replace the old. The end result would be a 200-unit low-income. that once it is in place more money can usually be found by HUD for additional units. The entire rationale for the court decision would then be undermined. The notion that we would be propos ing the construction of row houses in Yonkers was an anathema to them. they have no option but to accept low-income tenants with Section 8 cer tificates (Section 8 is HUD’s rent subsidy program) to fill the vacant units. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers HUD. highrise project located within a middle-income community composed of single-family houses. are being intentionally deceptive. Of course the price for such a breach of faith is that the next site becomes even harder to find and get approved.Chapter Four: Dispersed. This would virtually guarantee destabilization. it would replicate the situation in southwest Yonkers that led to the case to begin with. Her idea was to make these an equal mix of public housing. the Justice Department and the Yonkers chapter of the NAACP. This is because it is difficult to keep market-rate tenants living among public housing residents when they have other options. The plaintiffs in the case. In fact. The Justice Department attorney in the case wanted to put 200 units in 2 highrise towers on the largest site. also had problems with our decision to limit ourselves to row houses. The NAACP attorney said that my arguments reflected the racist 93 . moderate-income. I pointed out to the plaintiffs that the history of such mixed-income developments (particularly in Yonkers) was that they became fully occupied by low-income families in a short period of time. Housing authorities are then unable to resist increasing the number. and market-rate units. had very little history of building anything but highrises and walkups. it is just that it is so difficult to acquire a site. therefore. The New York City region is a very dense area. even if it means constructing high-density walkups or even highrises. That site would then serve 67 public housing units. For what would be the purpose of enabling low-income families to enjoy the benefits of living in a middle-income community if that community then quickly turned into a low-income community? The attorney for the Justice Department said that my argument was falla cious: The issue was not the nature of the host community but the exclu sion of public housing residents from an area that should have been open to them.
the result could destabilize the surrounding middle-income community. with documented references: ■ HUD’s manual for the construction of public housing had only two books referenced in it: Defensible Space and Design Guidelines for Achieving Defensible Space. HUD pre ferred walkups because it thought they would be less costly to build. rather than a concentration of low-income families. HUD spends millions of dol lars per project every few years repairing the destruction wrought by 94 . The next problem I encountered was getting the HUD regional office to accept row houses as the building type rather than walkups. He. ■ When calculating the cost of walkups versus row houses. My counter to that was that the community surrounding the new public housing was already middle-income and stable. The Justice Department attorney reasoned that the decline of the community would just make available additional lower cost housing for his client group. Regarding my Defensible Space rationale. HUD said that. pointing out the following. HUD was only using the initial construction costs. the court accepted my reasoning. The argument for the mixed-income development presented by the Justice Department attorney was that it would guarantee a mix of income groups. so be it. If the proposed large. both written by me. and security costs. as an agency. and if the surrounding community then wished to leave. for one. vandalism.Creating Defensible Space attitudes of Yonkers residents—attitudes that had produced the case in the first place. so there was no need to create an arti ficial mix within the new project—particularly if we could not sustain that mix. I prepared a long memo to HUD and all the parties in the case. had no problem with the entire 200 units turning into a low-income project. they had never accepted it. mixed-income development became all low-income. whereas the big savings in the use of row housing was in the consequent reduction in mainte nance. In informal discussions with all parties. The second book had been published jointly by HUD and Justice. and walkups were being torn down everywhere as frequently as highrises. ■ The history of walkup public housing throughout the country was not much better than that of highrises.
The housing authority would then have to serve as the general coordinator in evaluating and accepting these small bidders. Such projects have not only proven to be more costly. the New York State Building Code allowed two-story row houses to be built of wood. In the conventional route. which allows separate subcontractors to submit bids for small portions of the work. The use of the turnkey method thus allows the authority to avoid the requirements of the Wicks Law. City officials in Yonkers.Chapter Four: Dispersed. that we had an opportunity to demonstrate that public housing could be built to everyone’s benefit in middle-income communities. The RFP also spells out HUD’s basic standards for construction and site development. and without the multitude of fire walls required of walkups. without a second fire stair. and he reminded HUD (a defendant in the case) of the importance of getting the remedy done right. These bids must be considered by the housing authority along with bids by general contractors for the entire job. These arguments were heard before the judge in the case. the housing authority would have its architect prepare detailed construction drawings for the housing on each site and then request bids on them. but with the turnkey method it leaves all that 95 . ■ Finally. These additional requirements actually made walkups more costly than row houses. With the conventional route the housing authority specifies exactly what it wants in terms of design. They allowed their building department to prepare its own memo supporting my posi tion. they are difficult to administer and frequently stall in irreconcilable disputes between subcontractors. There were two ways open to obtaining bids: the conventional route and the turnkey route. who would have preferred that no housing be built at all. The problem with this method is that New York State has the Wicks Law. certainly preferred row houses over walkups. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers the residents in the public areas of highrise and walkup buildings: Our housing would have no such public areas. The turnkey route allows the housing authority simply to issue a request for proposal (RFP) from developers in which only the sites and the number of units per site are identified. The next obstacle we had to face grew out of the method the housing authority and HUD would have to use in soliciting bids for the work.
we were only getting bids from 2 out of 10 developers who had paid $100 for the bid package. HUD agreed to allow a set of Defensible Space guidelines to be introduced into the RFP. but totally vetoed the inclusion of any schematic site plans. The designs submitted by developers in response to the first issuance of the RFP proved unacceptable. but how could we be assured of getting the housing designs and site plans we wanted? The authority and I proposed to HUD that we include a set of written design guidelines in the RFP.Creating Defensible Space to the discretion of the developer. But HUD replied that the developers were not fools. and that they need not be followed. we asked HUD to allow us to include schematic site plans and building sketches. These criteria place important weight on incorporating Defensible Space principles. The developers and their architects did not seem to grasp what we were after. they would soon guess that if they did not follow the schematics. Again. hence. they would not win the award. It was clear that the developers and their architects had to be shown illustrations of what we wanted. the best solution. The housing authority chose not to make any award. HUD nixed the inclusion of the schematics in the RFP once again. The purpose of the turnkey process is to allow the developer to build what he knows how to do best and to turn over the finished housing to the authority when it is ready for occupancy. I had heard from local developers. along with schematic site plans that illustrated how to produce Defensible Space plans for each of the seven sites. were not enough to evoke either the image of the buildings or the site plan layouts we desired. The regional office of HUD objected. The written design guidelines. The housing authority and I realized that we could not go on issuing RFPs and turning the developers’ submissions down. As it was. or we would alienate the few developers we could attract. After much argument. with the expla nation that they were there for the developers’ enlightenment only. stating that this would severely restrain the developer by keeping him from using his own approach and finding the least expensive and. which also contains the criteria to evaluate the responses from developers. alone. The housing authority and HUD both preferred the turnkey method. The Defensible Space design guidelines issued in the RFP appear in addendum A. many of whom I had gone out of my 96 .
they would find a pile of schematic site plans next to the pile of packages. whereas most of the people who had picked up the bid package were experienced local builders. in fact. We decided to employ the following strategy in this second round: When the developers came to pick up their packages. they were receiving calls from important people in the community. He suggested we bring in a professional trainer: someone who had done 97 . ■ Training of residents Pete Smith. It was explained to them that they could either pick up the site plans with their bid packages or not. in fact. that because their names had been made public. A comparison of the profile of the new tenants and those living in the large projects shows that they are identical. This move meant so much to them. they had first to select themselves as candidates for the new housing. And this may not be a desire that is universally held by all public housing residents. It is self-selection toward the adoption of a new opportunity and lifestyle. advising them not to bid. they were very anxious to get it right. This is because 50 percent would come from the exist ing public housing projects and 50 percent from the housing authority’s waiting list. and they were fearful. ■ Selection of residents The public housing residents who would move into the new units were expected to have the same socio-economic profile as those who lived in the old highrises. There were many things they did not know about living in a single family house with its own heat and hot-water system. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers way to attract. Most of them did.Chapter Four: Dispersed. This time we got back three proposals that came very close to giving us what we wanted. Smith was overwhelmed by questions. This is hardly random selection. to conclude that just because their profiles were the same. identical. The only bids we did. The 200 families would be chosen by lottery from a list of 2. believed that tenant training was a critical ingredient to the success of the program: The residents had to be prepared for the move.000 applicants. It would be wrong. however. the housing authority director. that they were. Although they had been selected at random. receive were from developers whose operations were well away from Yonkers.
E. They needed an advocate they could ask seemingly dumb questions without feeling humiliated. home maintenance. I was concerned about going overboard in what we were asking HUD to do.) who had conducted training programs for a public housing relocation program in Greenburgh. A five-session program was given to all potential candidates for the housing. someone to whom they could open up about their fears and reservations. I thought that Smith’s housing staff might be able to handle the counseling. and provide the opportunity of going through various procedures that would be followed in case of the need for major repairs or other emergency responses. and Smith wanted to ask HUD to pay for it. safety and security. and knew how to explain things to them simply and to lead them slowly to an understanding and self-confidence. involving them in the process of acclimatizing the tenants and the neighboring community to each 98 . involve four or five sessions.) Mayhawk proved to be a very effective educator. someone with authority in the community who had been through this sort of thing in his own life. He spoke with different leaders of the opposition in Yonkers and reached out to them. knew what they were ignorant of. and community resources. But Smith disagreed: The tenants needed someone from outside the housing authority they could trust and feel comfortable with to provide a buffer between them and the complicated world they were entering. He had a great deal of credibility within the African-American community and even ran his own radio station.E.” Residents still keep in touch with him.R. a community north of Yonkers. The training program would cost a bit. He even hired some of them to help in the training. including his own mainte nance people. The sessions dealt with relocation. He understood what the future tenants were wor ried about. include working with maintenance people in the new units and meeting with the community and the police. interper sonal relations. and refer to him at meetings. (An outline of these sessions appears in addendum B. “It was up to the tenants to make the program work and up to me to train the tenants to do that. The training program should be intensive.Creating Defensible Space this before. Smith decided he would find the money for Mayhawk’s services from the housing authority’s own budget. He said. HUD objected and asked my opinion. He knew Bob Mayhawk of the Housing Education Reloca tion Enterprise (H.
Those involved in drugs or other unsavory activities bowed out. Truly open meetings would have deteriorated because the opposition groups would have descended on them. He introduced residents to business people who might hire them. further defined their grounds with low picket fences.000 applicants for the 200 available units. and dis rupted them. These former opposition leaders became liaisons in the commu nity for the first 3 critical months. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers other. to the surprise of the middleincome residents of Yonkers the new residents quickly adopted the behavior patterns of their suburban neighbors. It was not by accident that the resi dents received flowers and baskets of fruits when they first moved in. and com munity institutions: the latter including Sarah Lawrence College and Yonkers Raceway. They became 99 . The local media were intentionally kept away from both the training sessions and the tenant/community orientation sessions because inflammatory rhetoric had categorized much of their coverage of the case. Residents knew they were moving into a fish bowl and would be under continual informal surveillance. with only selected members of the public present. watching the community. Of the initial 2. en masse. and installed barbecues. It was made clear that any tenants involved in ille gal activities would be evicted. Mayhawk emphasized that the housing authority and the police would be on top of everything going on. about one-third dropped out of the process. watching the tenants. These meetings were closed. After the tenants moved in. The new developments were an hour bus ride away from the concentration of projects in southwest Yonkers. There were many subsequent turndowns by residents. ■ Results Although none of the residents had any previous experience living in row houses with private front and rear yards. They planted flowers.Chapter Four: Dispersed. Mayhawk also held meetings among tenants. The teenage children of many applicants did not care for the move because the dislocation meant some of their friendships and peer group activity would end. Many of the fami lies who dropped out said they did so because of their teenagers’ objections. Police were also present at these orientation sessions and meetings with the community. business people. these trainers went door-to-door to help orient them.
but the spirit was there. had kept them free of fences. were made of inexpensive plastic. The Yonkers school board says there is no decline in the quality and performance of children in the schools. 100 . some of the flowers. The housing authority had intended to maintain the front yards of the units itself and. the local newspaper found that there was no decline in property values and no white flight. but the residents set about defining their front yards with their own picket fences and took on the further responsibility of maintaining these yards as well. It must be admitted that these picket fences and. Figure IV–15: Residents’ initial improvements to their front yards. initially. Residents of the scattered-site units are now making requests of the housing authority to avail themselves of HUD programs that would allow them to buy their units. They even went out of their way to assist fellow newcomers with lawn maintenance. therefore. Figure IV–16: Residents’ later improvements to their front yards. The police found no increase in crime in the neighborhoods surrounding the scattered-site units and no evidence that the gang or drug activity that was prevalent in the old projects had transferred to the new. and with time they were replaced by the real thing.Creating Defensible Space proud of their achievements and jealous of their territorial rights. In an evaluation of adjacent hous ing.
adjoining every site. Yonkers: I was not part of the community mindset when I first came to Yonkers to be chief of police.000. and Pete Smith. then reassured them I wouldn’t let any of it occur. I attended some of the orientation sessions for the future tenants of the scattered-site projects—and their first meetings with small groups from the surrounding community. The surrounding community was made up of people who had moved into Yonkers 2 decades ago and had bought their houses for $60.Chapter Four: Dispersed. the executive director of the housing authority during the entire period up to the present. I was at the lottery. They were good people. now they were worth $250. My job was to convince the white community that their world wasn’t coming to an end.000 and $70. The remedy order had already been issued. and I actually saw it as my job to change that mindset. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers ■ Evaluation The following are excerpts from my interviews with Bob Olson. They knew about the drug Figure IV–17: Residents’ later improvements to their rear yards. 101 . Their houses were everything they owned. In their own words: Bob Olson. Extra patrols would be put in initially—and on an as needed basis—I promised. I went to speak to community groups all over the east side. I saw how much they wanted to move in and do better for themselves. They were worried that prices would plummet when the public housing residents moved in. during the time the housing was put in and for 2 years thereafter. the chief of police. former chief of police. I let them vent about what they feared would happen. I remember how excited they got when they learned they had been selected by the lottery.000.
Creating Defensible Space
scene and the prostitutes in the projects in the southwest—you only had to drive by to see them hustling on the street corners. My concern was to make sure that that wasn’t transplanted with the residents. My presence, or the presence of my precinct cap tains, at every orientation session and meeting with surrounding residents and businessmen must have done a lot to show everyone we were not going to tolerate any nonsense from either side. During the move-in and immediately thereafter we provided extra police presence—you know that, you specifically asked for it. The doomsday scenario never materialized. The stories that were circulating before the moves took place were that the real bad folks would get into the units and create gangs, peddle drugs, women, etc. Then the neighborhood people would react by screaming and yelling, and possibly demonstrating. The newspapers would hype it all up as usual—accusing both sides of what they themselves were doing. The politicos would then jump on the bandwagon, and we would be national headlines again. Some people were worried about how the police would react. My men were all Yonkers residents, and some came from fami lies that were in Yonkers for two and three generations. There is no question that their views reflected the sentiment of the white community. But they were a very professional bunch, reflecting solid police values. Even if their personal sentiments went the other way, I knew that when push came to shove, they would do the right thing. Most of them liked things quiet around Yonkers. They didn’t want a community in turmoil. They did not want to see the level of risk increase for anyone. They viewed the whole discrimination case as another pain in the butt—people feuding and fighting. They used to say of the politicos: those dumb SOBs could have been rid of this whole thing in the 1980s, if they had only agreed to put 80 public housing units on the east side.
Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
We have had virtually no crime or crime problems from the scattered-site units. After 2 1/2 years of occupancy, the only complaints we have been getting are loud noise and music, someone’s car broken into who lived in one of the sites, and kids from the units taking shortcuts to ballfields across their neigh bors’ property. When the neighbors came out and screamed at them, the kids retaliated by coming back with M80s. That needed some quick fence mending, schmoozing with the kids and the neighbors, asking each to give more than was expected of them in the way of politeness and tolerance. It worked. You can’t blame the neighbors for being upset: six or seven African-American kids with pants hanging below their butts, baseball caps turned backwards, walking across their lawn. We talked to the kids, asked them not to cuss, and not to tangle or argue with the neighbors. I said: “Even if they insult you, surprise them with politeness. That’ll defuse them real good.” And we asked the neighbors to remember that as tough as they looked, these were just kids. And if they yelled at kids, the kids would yell back—and more. Most of the complaints we get now are over an occasional wild party, and these complaints come from the other housing residents just as frequently as from the surrounding neighbors. The lesson I learned from all this is that highrises shouldn’t be used for anyone but elderly, and that elderly and kids don’t mix. The other thing is don’t put the poor African Americans in large concentrations. Boyfriends of welfare women come into town from Detroit, or wherever, and set up their women in their own apartments doing drugs and prostitution. And in a highrise, that contaminates the whole building, sometimes the whole highrise project. You have to be able to evict these people, quickly and easily. HUD’s procedures take too long and go nowhere. I like the idea of using women tenants as part of an in-house security force. The housing authority should be allowed to pay them five bucks an hour without HUD expecting to deduct that amount from the rent subsidy they get.
Creating Defensible Space
Pete Smith, Director of the Yonkers Housing Authority: I don’t have to tell you the whole thing is a resounding success. None of the anticipated nasty things happened. There was no transfer of crime from the projects—in fact, there is no crime at all in either the scattered sites or in the surrounding housing. There is no decline in property values in neighboring housing— as our newspaper’s own analysis found out—and there is no white flight. Boy, did that newspaper want it to be different. People in Yonkers expected a complete failure. Expectations were so low, we couldn’t lose. Ironically, the local newspaper helped us there. They were constantly saying that the scatteredsite units would introduce crime, reduce property values, and send everybody running. When none of that happened, the pres ence of low-income African Americans in their neighborhoods didn’t seem all that important. Actually, we began winning when the community saw the buildings go up and the quality of the designs. They couldn’t believe it— couldn’t believe that we and HUD had actually kept our word. Then, when they saw the attitudes of residents who moved in—their concern for their grounds, their own policing of each other, their deference to their neighbors—the nightmare simply vanished. There is still very little one-on-one social interaction between tenants and surrounding residents at most of the sites, but then we expected that. There are occasional community picnics when they do interact, but that’s not what I mean. But they know that each of them is there, and behave with respect accordingly, and that’s what’s important. There isn’t even minor theft among residents on the sites, and you know what it can be like in public housing: people stealing each others’ curtains. The residents now store their outdoor things openly in their individual back yards: bicycles, barbecues, lawn chairs, tents. These yards are only separated from each other by low 3-foot fences. Yet nothing disappears. That’s because everyone knows it would have to be an inside job. You can’t get into the collective rear yard area from the outside
I know we didn’t have a choice: 105 . We are all learning our way in this thing. After they moved in. And he never knows who is going to drop a dime on him. Residents kept encountering things they were not prepared for. There is no anonymity in the scattered-site projects and the bordering streets. They were chosen at the orien tation program by the tenants themselves. [and] paint washing off the interior walls when they cleaned them. If his neighbors see too much traffic to his house. police not responding quickly enough. They wanted to know how far they could go in assuming control of the grounds. The only thing I’d do differently is not design any of the sites with more than 20 to 24 units. so the dealers can spot a cop before the cop spots them. one who would be conscientious and flexible. We can’t do less of a job than they do. they knew they had to make it work. With the residents doing such a good job of maintaining their own grounds. and the big subject for them is. A basic requirement of drug dealers is being able to blend in with the scenery. it is not evident. peoples’ apartments. It is not in-your-face as it is in the large projects in the southwest. parking on neighboring streets. We set up tenants to be leaders on each site. Peer group pressure among the residents was the key. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers because of the high 6-foot fencing that encloses the collective of individual rear yards. There were complaints about neighbors misbehaving.Chapter Four: Dispersed. If a resident chooses to sell drugs from his apartment. he becomes very vulnerable. and community rooms. Each of the seven sites had four or five meetings a year for the first 2 years: until things settled down. upkeep of the nonprivate areas of the scattered sites becomes critically important. “When will we be able to buy our units?” If drug dealing goes on in the scattered sites. Now the meetings are fewer. This was such an op portunity for all the residents. community meetings continued to play an important part in the acclimatization process. they catch on. These community meetings were held in parking lots. That’s why it was important that we select a good main tenance man.
some don’t. but there is something special there. 106 . will come back to haunt us.Creating Defensible Space God knows we struggled to get the seven sites we did. They’re too isolated from their surrounding communities. And at one time we did have 10 sites and so could have put fewer units on each. for me the best test of the Defensible Space theory was not the way the residents took over their own grounds and then began to defend the entire project. They don’t always report that they are working though. A lot of people now have jobs in the local businesses and institu tions—some admit it. not supervised by the surrounding middle-class residents. that’s what convinced me. They’re not totally integrated into an overall commu nity. it was the tenants’ own doing. But the 2 big sites. I can’t quantify it. and making it clear to the whole world that if there was a mess on their front yard. they form their own place. but seeing how the residents there reacted to the opportunity. Their kids share in that. You know. The residents’ self-esteem really went up. didn’t think that would work. with 48 units on 1 and 44 on the other. I. frankly. They are so big. They are finding jobs in local stores. It was your modifications to the Clason Point public housing project that sold me on Defensible Space. They seem so much more sure of themselves. an amazing difference in their self-image. I think we’re going to see a difference in the way the big sites perform and in the kids that come out of them. they’re afraid they’ll have to pay more rent. Making garbage disposal an individual thing. It’s not that the con cept didn’t make sense intuitively. I kind of expected that. I bump into residents on occasion when shopping. but it is the way they take care of their garbage cans next to their front walks. they will do much better because of it. Down the road. brought something out of the tenants that showed the whole world how badly they had been prejudged.
000 of our 6. and if another lottery were held tomorrow. only one-third of our existing tenants put their names on the list. that is 2. But ev erybody in the authority has been following this closely. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers When we held the lottery. I know for a fact that 60 percent of our households would put their names on the list. tenants and management.000 households. There was apprehension in not knowing what sort of reception they would receive from their white suburban neighbors.Chapter Four: Dispersed. 107 .
NY. Report to the U. 1993. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Washington.. OH. O. 1994. 1986.” Issues in Housing Discrimination. Reorganization Plan for the Chicago Housing Authority. Evaluation of the Five Oaks Neighborhood Stabilization Plan. Institute for Community Design Analysis. Social Science Research Center. 1994. Nov. Washington. C. Report on the Five Oaks Neighborhood Surveys. City of Plantation. “Fair Housing: The Conflict Between Integration and Nondiscrimination. Analysis of 50 Sites in Nine Competing CCP Cities. OH. O. 1992. U. Newman. 109 . A Consultation/ Hearing of the U. NY. OMB. Newman. DC.S. Great Neck. et al. NY. Long-Term Housing Plan to Achieve Integration in the City of Yonkers.S. DC. Newman. Newman. Commission on Civil Rights. O. 12–13. O.REFERENCES City of Dayton. University of Dayton: Dayton. O. Institute for Community Design Analysis: Great Neck. Commission on Civil Rights: Washington.S. O. Improving the Viability of Two Dayton Communities: Five Oaks and Dunbar Manor. Institute for Community Design Analysis: Great Neck. E. Department of Justice on the suitability of applying Defen sible Space technology. Kimble. Florida. 1989. DC. Institute for Community Design Analysis: Great Neck. City of Dayton: Dayton. 1985. Safe Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan for District 7. Newman. NY. 1987.S. Newman. 1982. U.
Division of Adult Services. Design Guidelines for Creating Defensible Space. “The Effects of Building Size on Personal Crime and Fear of Crime. Newman.000-unit new town outside Amsterdam. Proposal for Improving the Amsterdam Bijlmermeer New Town. O. Newman. O. 1982.. Expert testimony to the Supreme Court of the State of New York.S. The Netherlands.. 1981. A plan for rescuing the 12. Franck. Newman.. Design Standards for Homeless Men Shelters in New York City. 110 . A study for the Ford Foundation providing security components to be added to standard building codes. Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York. A Model Security Code for Residential Areas. DC. U. A study undertaken for the New York State Department of Social Services. 1980. Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York.S.S. Newman. Gemeentelijke Dienst Volkshuisvesting. Newman. Department of Justice: Washington. Factors Influencing Crime and Instability in Urban Housing Developments. Housing Design and Children’s Anti-social Behavior. Newman. U. and S. and K. Department of Justice. DC. Franck. No. 1975.Creating Defensible Space Newman. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Netherlands. O. Government Printing Office: Washington. and K. 1981. Anchor Press/Doubleday: Garden City. Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York. O. Johnston. O. Crime Prevention Techniques in Commercial Establish ments. O.” Population and Environment. Community of Interest. O. Newman. U. O. Franck. 1980. NY. Newman. Amsterdam. A study for the National Institute of Mental Health. O. 1982. A preliminary evaluation prepared for the U.. 1976. 1980. 5. and K.S. Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York.
O. The Private Streets of St. Newman. New Frontiers in Architecture. Newman. DC. D. 1968. Inventory of Space Availability in Four New York City Detention Facilities. Newman. City of Chicago. Park Mall: Lawndale. Doubleday. and F. 1973. 1961. Government Printing Office: Washington. Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York. Government Printing Office: Washington. 1973.References Newman. O. Architectural Design for Crime Prevention.S. Ch. Design Guide for Improving Residential Security. Universe Books: New York. O. U. A study for the New York City Department of Corrections directed at improving conditions following the prison riots. 6. Department of Development and Planning: Chicago. U. Newman. An early exploration of the effects of architectural design on perception and behavior.S. 111 . Wayno. The reuse of public streets and re dundant arterials in neighborhood rehabilitation. Grandin. O. Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York. New York: Macmillan. Defensible Space. 1971. Newman. DC. A summary of the 1959 International Congress of Modern Architects conference in Otterlo. Newman. Louis.. 1972. O. O. A National Science Foundation study (summarized in Community of Interest. 1980). 1974. O.
Defensible Space Guidelines Used in Yonkers RFP
(This edited and shortened version of the original RFP speaks primarily to design guidelines concerning Defensible Space.)
This is a request for proposals for the construction of public housing units for families with children, to be built on seven preselected sites in the eastern part of Yonkers. This housing is being built as a remedy to a Federal Court judgment. Both the City of Yonkers and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have entered into Consent Decrees to further the construction of this housing. The sites have been acquired by the City of Yonkers. The Court has ordered the City to make them available at no cost for use by the turnkey devel oper selected to develop the public housing units. The selection will be made by the Yonkers Municipal Housing Authority (MHA) and approved by HUD. Two-story townhouse dwelling units have been chosen as the most appropriate form of housing: (1) to best serve the future residents; and (2) to fit into the single-family residential character of the existing neighborhoods. The advantage of the townhouse design is that each unit is its own entity, belonging to one single family. It has its own front and back yard, and independent entrances serving only that family. The townhouse has no public circulation spaces—no lobbies, stairways, or corridors—which often create problems in low-income developments. The cost of proposals that exceed HUD’s Total Development Cost (TDC) guidelines (as found in Section C) will not be rejected by MHA for that reason alone; however, HUD has made no commitment that it will provide funds for any costs in excess of those cost guidelines, and accordingly, has reserved the right to reject any proposals exceeding
Creating Defensible Space
them. Sources of funds other than HUD’s may be made available to provide for costs in excess of the cost guidelines.
1. Townhouse Units: A townhouse unit is a two-story house serving only one family. It shares common side walls with other townhouse units. Each townhouse will have its own entry front and rear and its own front and rear yard. Refer to the New York State Building Code for the maximum number of townhouse units that can be grouped together under different fire designations. 2. Units for the Handicapped: A dwelling unit for the handicapped must be located entirely on the first floor level. It must be designed to the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards. HUD requires that 5 percent of all units be provided for the handicapped per site. 3. Dwelling Units above Handicapped Units: A second floor walkup dwelling unit will be permitted above the handi capped unit, but it must have a separate individual entrance at ground level. That is to say, the family living on the second floor is to have its own entry at street level which leads to a stair to the second floor. In MHA’s definition there will be no interior areas common to more than one family. 4. Units for the Visually and Hearing Impaired: HUD requires that in addition, 2 percent of all units be provided for the visually and hearing impaired. These units are to be designed to comply with the Public Housing Development Accessibility Requirements (No tice PIH 88-34) (attached to this RFP). These dwelling units shall be distributed among the sites as shown.
■ Selection of proposals
Proposals will be selected by MHA on the basis of free and open compe tition. Evaluation will be objectively conducted in accordance with the procedures and criteria set forth in the Proposal Evaluation Criteria, which follow later. All proposals must comply with the project planning, design and cost criteria detailed in chapters 3, 6, 9, and 10 of the Public Housing Development Handbook and applicable cost containment and modest design requirements of HUD Notice PIH90–16 and Public Housing Cost Guidelines.
The Federal District Court has ordered that all sites are deemed to be appropriately zoned for the housing called for in this RFP. The guidelines and constraints for the development of the sites are specified in the Design Criteria paragraph and Design Parameters. Developers are spe cifically asked to refer to the changes in the Yonkers Zoning Code al lowed for in this RFP as regards to existing setback requirements and parking ratios.
■ Design criteria
1. Building Design All buildings shall have pitched shingle roofs for drainage and aesthetic purposes. In order to individualize the separate units, the Developer shall endeavor where possible, and in compliance with HUD’s Cost Containment Guidelines, to employ visual breaks, changes in plane or roof line, and/ or varied architectural expression (e.g. variation in window sizes, color, texture, etc.), especially in the development of the building elevations. The exterior walls shall have a brick veneer at the first story. The second story should be a maintenance free material.
whose units also face the street. Government Printing Office) and Defensible Space (Macmillan). 3.Creating Defensible Space 2. security should be given very serious consideration in the development of these site plans. Parking: All parking areas are to be positioned a minimum distance of 10 feet from any building and should be positioned to facilitate surveillance from the units. The parameters to be used are as follows: The front yards. Parking may be placed between the side walls of townhouse groupings as long as the nearest automobile space is not closer to the street than the front line of the building. the fronts of buildings. To the extent that the site will allow. Security: Page 1 of HUD’s Manual of Acceptable Practices cites two references for site design to achieve security: Architectural Design for Crime Prevention (U. 4. Since security has become an increasingly important issue for public housing and for the communities that surround them.S. and the main entries to units shall face existing streets or new driveways so as to facilitate normal patrolling by police cars and police response to residents’ request for assistance. This will serve to create a collective private zone (consisting of a grouping of individual rear yards) that is inaccessible from the public street but accessible from the interior of each unit. Concrete wheel stops at curbs are to be provided at every parking space. to survey their neighbors front doors. Walks: Walks shall be provided for safe convenient direct access to each unit and for safe pedestrian circulation throughout a development between facilities and locations where major need for pedestrian access can be 116 . This will also enable residents across the street. the rear yards serving individual units should be backed onto the rear yards of other units so that a collec tive grouping of rear yards can be easily fenced off together using a col lective 6’0” high fence. The amount of collective fencing needed to enclose the collective group ings of rear yard areas can be minimized through the judicious place ment of buildings and rear yards.
1 Rev. Inground garbage containers are the preferred solution by MHA and shall be designed to hold two garbage receptacles. Proposals will be evaluated objec tively in accordance with the procedures and criteria set forth in HUD Handbook 7417.0 foot candles for townhouse entrances. 6. The design treatment and construction of garbage and refuse stations and containers should prevent access to them by pests or animals. 5. Planting that hides the pedestrian from the motorist until he steps out on the street should be avoided. 7. outdoor garbage storage areas are to be provided and posi tioned to serve each dwelling unit. and 4. and entrances to units.5 foot candles minimum for parking lots and walkways. as amended by this RFP. The intensity shall be 0. 117 .Addendum A anticipated. dated October 1980. Additional attention is required where driveways enter streets. Planting: Planting should not be placed so as to screen the doors and windows of dwelling units from the street or from walks leading from the street to dwelling unit entries. as well as the following Evaluation Criteria. ramps. parking lots. ramps. paragraphs 6–42 and 6–43. Lighting: Lighting is to be provided for the entire developed site with concentra tions at walks. Plant material should be selected and arranged to permit full safe sight distance between approaching vehicles at street intersections. at crosswalks and especially in areas of concentrated mixed pedestrian and vehicular movement. 1. and steps. Garbage and Refuse Storage: Individual. Parking lighting poles shall have a minimum height of 25’0” and pedestrian walk lighting poles a height of 12’0” to 15’0”. Walks shall be located so that they are easily surveyed from the interior of units. ■ Selection of proposals Proposals will be selected by the Municipal Housing Authority on the basis of free and open competition.
Developer’s price .... The total developer’s price as a percent of the median price for all responsive turnkey proposals....... perceived capability in completing this project... The developer is asked to follow them as closely as possible... Developer’s qualifications ..... Previous experience in successfully developing and completing similar projects........ This meeting will be held to review the rating.. and financial viability.. If all resubmitted proposals are again found nonresponsive.. 20 points max. After MHA has made its official announcement of designation. ranking.. 20 points max. A........... require major corrections in order to conform to the requirements of the RFP..... which may involve a higher price......” i.... Under this procedure... permitting... it will hold a meeting with those respondents who were not selected...Creating Defensible Space In the event that all proposals are determined to be “nonresponsive..... MHA and HUD reserve the right to negotiate with the developer of the proposal considered most desirable to rectify deficiencies. and be given an opportunity to submit a redesigned proposal...e.. and selection process..... Superior = below 90 percent of median Average = 90–100 percent of median Poor = more than 100 percent of median B....... MHA reserves the right to solicit a second round of proposals....... further increases in price...... 118 .. if necessary........ ■ Proposal evaluation criteria Proposals will be evaluated on a point system based on the four criteria below. each developer will be informed of the reasons his/her proposal was determined nonresponsive..
.... streets.. low-maintenance. and allows the unit front entries and windows to be ob served from the street......... Maximum 15 points (iii) Unit layout The extent to which the dwelling unit floor plans and layout provides functional housing arrangements. allows residents to supervise activities in the streets. Maximum 15 points (ii) Architectural treatment The degree to which the exterior design of the dwelling units captures the scale... Maximum 5 points 119 ........ slope stability.. 40 points max..... planting design..... parking. and character of the neighborhood.......... and open space development.... Maximum 5 points (iii) Material and equipment The extent to which durable......... construction material and equipment will be used. (i) Special design features The degree to which the design incorporates features that provide for efficient project operations and lower maintenance costs.Addendum A C....... Design and construction quality. Maximum 10 points D. 20 points max.... Maximum 5 points (ii) Energy-saving features The extent to which the design provides for long-term energy savings by incorporating the use of energy conservation features. Site development plan .. materials..... utility plan..... drainage. (i) Site development layout The extent to which the site development plan conforms to the Design Criteria regarding the layout of topography/grading.....
Creating Defensible Space (iv) Security The extent to which the rear yards are backed onto other rear yards.. Ratings will be... (1) Superior (value 70 percent to 100 percentage points). 120 ... If only one proposal is submitted..... the developer’s price criteria will be rated against HUD’s latest TDC for townhouse construction in Westchester County..... 100 points max... Proposals will be evaluated based on the point system described above..... so that a collective grouping of rear yards can be fenced off together.. The rating will be a gradation of 100 points spread among the four crite ria. Maximum 5 points Total Maximum.. This will make the rear yards inaccessible from the public street but acces sible from the interior of each dwelling.... Average (value 40 percent to 69 percentage points) and (3) Poor (value 0 to 39 percentage points).. for each criteria.
Addendum B Tenant Training Course Conducted by Housing Education Relocation Enterprise Tenants were given 2 hours of orientation and 2 hours of counseling in the following five subjects: Tenant relocation 1. What do tenants need to know about their new housing units? 2. MCI. landlord responsibilities? 2. How do tenants move? 6. SPRINT) b) Washer/dryer (Manufacturer) c) Heating/air conditioning (CON-EDISON) d) Stove/refrigerator (Manufacturer) 3. What is the relocation schedule/timetable? 4. How do tenants prepare for the move? 5. What are the three phases of relocation? 3. What do tenants need to know about their utilities? a) Telephone company (NYNEX. What do tenants need to know about trash/garbage removal? 121 . What are leases? Tenant responsibilities. How do tenants adapt to their new community? Home maintenance 1.
What constitutes good police/community relations? 3. What benefits do resident councils provide? a) Methods or organization b) Democratic processes c) Problem solving d) Conflict resolution e) MHA grievance procedure Safety/security 1. What constitutes good tenant/landlord relations? 2. How does a tenant identify and properly utilize public health services? a) Department of public works b) Fire department c) City emergency services d) Ambulance/medical services 122 . What do tenants need to know about parking? 5. What do tenants need to know about outdoor home recreation? Interpersonal relations 1. What constitutes good tenant/tenant relations? 3.Creating Defensible Space 4. What is the MHA evacuation plan? 2. What constitutes good tenant/neighbor relations? 4.
Religious services 123 . Transportation a) Buses b) Trains c) Cabs/private transportation 3.Addendum B e) Hospitals/clinics f) Night/neighborhood watch programs Community resources 1. What family services are available to the tenants? a) Youth services b) Parks/recreation c) Libraries d) Cultural services e) Shopping centers f) Banking services g) Postal services h) Personal maintenance 2.
20410–6000 Official Business Penalty for Private Use $300 FIRST-CLASS MAIL POSTAGE & FEES PAID HUD Permit No. G–795 EP N T M E T OF H AR O US U.S. D EN T ING R BA N D EVELO M AN D P Equal Housing Opportunity U .U. D.C. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development and Research Washington.S.
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